Timothy A. Meinert: Time for a new district attorney
Your recent article concerning the potential ballot initiative to extend the term limits for the district attorney in the Fifth Judicial District raises some serious issues.
Your article blames term limits for the loss of “career prosecutors” such as Bill Ritter, who was elected governor of Colorado, (a much better job), as well as Stu Van Meveren and Gus Sandstrom, both of whom were at or near retirement age when their terms expired. In fact, many of the elected district attorneys no longer in office because of term limits have found lucrative and rewarding careers since leaving office, including our ex-DA Mike Goodbee, who is now district court judge in Adams County.
Term limits have been a part of American politics since the beginning of our nation. The Constitutional Convention debated whether or not to include a provision for term limits on the president and Congress. The Constitution did not address term limits when it was finally ratified. Further controversy was avoided during the second term of President Washington by his wise decision not to seek a third term. It was not until after Franklin Delano Roosevelt – the only president in history to serve more than two terms – that the 22nd Amendment was passed, limiting the president to two terms, plus two years if the president finishes the term of another president.
The United States Congress is not subject to term limits, which is a shame given the fact that it’s career politicians like Boehner, McConnell, Pelosi and Reid who have failed to provide any real solutions to our country’s problems. Colorado’s governor, legislatures and many other state and county elected positions are subject to term limits, including our district attorney, who will have served 10 years in office by January, 2013, which is when he is presently scheduled to leave office.
One of my concerns is the fact that this very same idea was rejected in 2009, when it could have been on the ballot in 2010. Instead, the county commissioners in the four counties have decided to put this important matter on the 201 1 ballot, an election which will draw sparse voting as compared to last year’s elections. And I’m sure there was nothing political involved in the timing of their decision …
My main concern is that I believe it is time for a change in the district attorney’s office. Their dismal record of failure speaks volumes. (e.g. Kobe Bryant, Dennis Flint, Brian Brady, not to mention numerous other cases which did not receive any publicity). Perhaps it is best for the voters to decide this issue, but if it passes, then it is highly likely that the next four years will be just like the last 10 years, and as a former prosecutor and long-time resident of Summit County, I think that would be a problem.
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