Bruce Carey challenging to lead Colorado’s Fifth Judicial District
District Attorney Candidates
This is the first of three profiles of candidates running for District Attorney in Colorado’s Fifth Judicial District, comprised of Eagle, Summit, Lake and Clear Creek counties.
Tuesday: Republican Bruce Carey
Wednesday: Democrat Bruce Brown
Thursday: Independent Sanam Mehrnia
EAGLE — Bruce Carey learned to lead by example as a sergeant in the United States Army, and he said he would bring that attitude to the district attorney’s office.
Carey, a Republican, is running against incumbent Bruce Brown, a Democrat and Frisco attorney Sanam Mehrnia, an independent, to be the top cop in Eagle, Summit, Lake and Clear Creek counties, Colorado’s 5th Judicial District.
“I spent four years in the United States Army and learned that you lead by example,” Carey said.
Carey, a sergeant in a mortar platoon, is a Vietnam-era veteran who spent his overseas time in Germany. He served under presidents Ford, Carter and Reagan.
“When I was a sergeant and platoon leader in the Army, I ate last. That philosophy will be carried through to the district attorney’s office,” Carey said.
Carey has been an attorney for 27 years and cut his teeth with a stint in the district attorney’s office after he moved to Eagle County in 1989. The DA has complete power over the cases that are prosecuted and how they are prosecuted, Carey said.
“No case should be lost by the DA’s office. If they don’t believe in the case beyond a reasonable doubt, then they should dismiss it,” Carey said. “It is the charge of the district attorney to seek justice, not to seek convictions.”
Carey said he would also eliminate the grand jury and that most jurisdictions rarely use it.
“To pass the buck to a grand jury to make charging decisions is cowardly,” Carey said.
He said prosecutors would also put a brief explanation on each case file about why they arrived at that charging decision.
Carey is a big fan of community service and volunteer work to help stop the county jail’s revolving door.
“Allowing people with certain errors and offenses to work their way back into the community with extensive community service — that makes them feel involved, and that stake in the community will reduce recidivism,” Carey said. “I think if someone spends a Saturday cleaning up a highway, they are less likely to throw trash on that highway.”
Carey volunteers extensively. It began with seven years on the county zoning board and stretched to 17 years as a volunteer for the Eagle County Fair & Rodeo board, including board president. The most recent has been his involvement with the Gypsum Recreation Center heart smart program as a volunteer instructor for the past three and a half years.
That’s another reason he wants to expand that part of the justice system to include almost any organization: churches, Habitat for Humanity, police and fire departments.
Judge Katharine Sullivan’s alternative sentencing DUI and drug courts go a long way toward that, he said. He is also proposing restorative justice programs in which victims and perpetrators would meet with a mediator.
He says he would like to put an experienced prosecutor in each office, and each paid attorney in the district would carry a caseload, including him.
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