Resident takes step toward recall

Secretary of State's office rules petition in compliance

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— A Craig resident is moving forward with a petition to recall Bonnie Roesink, 14th Judicial District Attorney.

The election division of the Colorado Secretary of State's office informed Kathy Oberwitte on Tuesday afternoon that the petition she submitted for review complies with statutory requirements.

"The information met the

standards set forth in the statu-

tes," said Jonathan Tee, Secretary of State communications director. "Now the process is really back into Kathy Oberwitte's hands."

The petition alleges the district attorney has been the cause of "unprecedented" employee turnover, directed an office that lacks consistent prosecution and has allowed the plea-bargaining of "serious felony cases," among other complaints.

It also states Roesink "has lost the confidence of the public, law enforcement and others in the criminal justice system," and "violated the Colorado Victims Rights Act by not treating victims and their families with respect, fairness and dignity."

"Her failure to professionally lead and manage the 14th Judicial District has led to many plea bargains and light sentences for some while grossly overprosecuting others," the petition reads.

"Such unprofessional and irresponsible management is grounds for removal from office."

Roesink had no comment.

Oberwitte said she would begin circulating the petition Tuesday evening and has volunteers lined up to circulate the document in Moffat and Routt counties. She is seeking a volunteer for Grand County, which also encompasses the 14th Judicial District.

"I have people waiting," Oberwitte said. She added, "Our community can't be abused anymore."

Oberwitte and Craig resid-ents William Puhl and Lisa Molison are listed on the petition as the recall committee.

According to the Secretary of State's office, Oberwitte and her circulators have 60 days to acquire 3,802 signatures, or 25 percent of the votes cast for Roesink in her unopposed 2004 election victory.

Once the petition is submitted, the secretary's office has 10 days to verify the signatures and another 15 days to accept protests of signatures or those who circulated the petition.

Gov. Bill Ritter then would be required to select a date for the recall election.

Oberwitte's desire to recall Roesink stems from her disagreement with the district attorney regarding a case involving her late brother, Michael Bailey, of Craig.

Bailey was killed in a February 2006 two-vehicle crash on U.S. Highway 40, about a mile east of Hayden. A vehicle driven by Morrison resident Dustin Lund, who reportedly was under the influence of methamphetamine, collided with Bailey's vehicle.

Roesink charged Lund in Routt County with careless driving resulting in death, a

misdemeanor. Oberwitte and her family lobbied Roesink to file a more serious charge -vehicular homicide - against Lund.

Roesink vacated the charge against Lund to consider the family's request. In January, she announced that the original charge against Lund was the "correct judgment."

Roesink said prosecutors didn't believe the evidence against Lund would be enough to secure a conviction.

Oberwitte said she's been working on a recall petition since Jan. 18.

"I prayed and prayed and prayed about what to do with this," Oberwitte said. She said she received telephone calls from community members urging a recall.

"It's basically what our community has spoken out for. The people came to me. It may be that my prayers were answered."

Oberwitte said she won't be satisfied with acquiring the minimum number of signatures required for a recall.

"My goal is 6,000," she said.

Comments

fish 7 years, 6 months ago

Good Luck Kathy! Hope that you are able to prevail, can't wait to sign the petition myself.

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vic 7 years, 6 months ago

Too bad it took a tragedy, but glad it is coming about. I too will sign. Now, how do we get rid of St James?

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Conservative_Guy 7 years, 6 months ago

Unfortunately, this is far from the only tragedy that the DA's office has botched. I worked with Bonnie and staff on another terrible death case, and I was dumbfounded at how inept they are. I am the senior partner of an out of town law firm. I have been a lawyer for almost 25 years. This group is an embarrassment.

Roesink needs to go. Who do we have to take her place?

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freetime 7 years, 6 months ago

There are a few good candidates to take Roesink's job. A couple have very recently worked in the DA's office, equipped with more than a decade of prosecutorial experience, a true sense of what justice is all about and the level headedness and simple common sense that is needed to run that office. These individuals were left with no choice but to leave out of frustration resulting from the narrow minded, uncooperative and unprofessionalism that runs rampant in the 14th Judicial District's District Attorney's due to lack of leadership and excessive egos.

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id04sp 7 years, 6 months ago

Wow.

Some other people think the local judicial system sucks too. Imagine that?

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katobe 7 years, 6 months ago

Thank you to all. I need more circulators for Routt and Grand County. If you have the time and are interested in our communities due justice please call me and leave a message on my home machine. 970-824-7790. Kathy O.

"JUSLISN" please call me ASAP.

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