Hurlbert front-runner for DA seat
BRECKENRIDGE – Local politicos are pulling for Mark Hurlbert in his attempt to snag the Fifth Judicial District attorney’s (DA) seat after state Attorney General Ken Salazar announced that current DA Mike Goodbee will soon relocate to Denver.
Goodbee has served as the Fifth Judicial DA since 1997 and Wednesday accepted a job as the deputy attorney general for the Criminal Justice Section in Salazar’s office. He begins work there Jan. 1.
“I’m happy for him,” said County Commissioner Gary Lindstrom. “He’s really well qualified; he’ll be a nice addition to the Attorney General’s office. We’ll miss him up here. He’s done an excellent job – he’s one of the best DAs we’ve ever had.”
Assistant DA Hurlbert has come out as a front-runner for the position and has the support of many, including Goodbee and Summit County Sheriff Joe Morales.
“Mark’s a true local. He was raised here, he went to high school here and he’s coming back and serving his community,” Morales said. “He’s not a stranger coming from the outside. I’ve worked with him on a lot of cases. I’ve seen him learn and develop. It’s something he truly wants to do, something he’s passionate about. You have to respect that. And he has a real desire to ensure there’s fairness, objectivity and professionalism in the DA’s office.”
“I think he’d do a good job,” Lindstrom said. “He’s a very bright, thoughtful, caring person. He makes good decisions. I think it’s a good thing.”
“I’m ready for the challenges of something new,” Hurlbert said. “I have helped Mike with various aspects of the district attorney’s office – the budget, personnel and trying big cases.”
Hurlbert, who is a Summit County Rotary member, said he sees prosecuting as a calling.
“The president of Rotary said, “When you help one person, you help the world,'” Hurlbert said. “Being in public service, being a prosecutor, is all about helping people. I’m not only helping people with whom I have cases, but I’m able to influence other attorneys to help people.”
Hurlbert and his family moved to Dillon Valley in 1979. He graduated from Summit High School in 1987, earned his undergraduate degree at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H. and his law degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
He interned with the Fifth Judicial District in Breckenridge in the summer between his second and third years of law school, and, upon graduation, was hired as the deputy district attorney in Eagle County. Hurlbert spent three years there, one in county court and two in district court. In 1997, he was transferred to Clear Creek County to head up the judicial office, where he prosecuted felonies and juvenile cases.
Hurlbert lives with his wife, Cathy Cheroutes, and children Jack, 2, and Sydney, 3 months, in Breckenridge.
Hurlbert said that, if elected, he plans to continue the work Goodbee has begun in the realm of victims’ advocacy and rights and wants to expand that to include crimes against children.
“I truly think those are some of the worst crimes,” he said. “We’re seeing more and more child abuse and sexual assault. These poor children who are abused and assaulted have to live with that for the rest of their lives. It’s heartbreaking. And obviously, having two children of my own, to see other children go through this is horrible.”
He’s prosecuted about 40 child abuse cases in the past five years.
“It’s scary that it happens that much,” he said. “It certainly is a problem.”
Hurlbert has spent recent months raising money to develop Rocky Mountain Child Advocacy Center where attorneys, counselors and others will help children involved in cases.
Hurlbert also is on the Summit Prevention Alliance Board and is a member of the National College of District Attorneys. While in Clear Creek, he served on the board of the Advocates for Victims of Assault.
Gov. Bill Owens faces no deadline in naming a replacement for the Fifth Judicial DA seat, but Goodbee and Hurlbert said they hope he makes a decision before Dec. 15.
Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 228 or
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