Investigator Joe DeAngelo teaches a class for Moffat County law enforcement officers in Craig on Wednesday afternoon. An increase in the number of felony cases in the 14th Judicial District is overloading the District Attorney's Office and could result in the hire of a new investigator.

Photo by Hans Hallgren

Investigator Joe DeAngelo teaches a class for Moffat County law enforcement officers in Craig on Wednesday afternoon. An increase in the number of felony cases in the 14th Judicial District is overloading the District Attorney's Office and could result in the hire of a new investigator.

Felonies swamp DA's Office

Judicial District gets OK to hire new investigator

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Investigator Joe DeAngelo teaches a class for Moffat County law enforcement officers in Craig on Wednesday afternoon. An increase in the number of felony cases in the 14th Judicial District is overloading the District Attorney's Office and could result in the hire of a new investigator.

— An increase in felony cases across the 14th Judicial District is overloading the District Attorney's Office and could result in the hire of a new investigator.

District Attorney Bonnie Roesink said Wednesday that her office has handled 489 felony cases in Routt, Moffat and Grand counties in 2007, an increase of about 10 percent. She said 131 of those cases originated in Routt County.

A recent alleged murder in Steamboat Springs, an alleged vehicular homicide in South Routt, an alleged murder and alleged attempted murder in Craig, the retrial for Thomas Lee Johnson and a vehicular homicide case that was recently assigned from the 9th Judicial District have swamped the local DA's Office, Roesink said.

"In my 20 years, this is the highest number of serious cases I've seen come all at once," she said.

In a Sept. 25 letter to the Routt County Board of Commissioners, Roesink expressed concern that violent crimes will continue to escalate in Northwest Colorado.

"The explosive growth in our communities is a harbinger of more serious crime," Roesink wrote.

In an effort to ensure that all the district's cases, not just felonies, are being handled appropriately, Roesink requested funding from three counties to hire a second full-time investigator for the last months of 2007 and for all of 2008.

"It's really been a strain to have one person covering nearly 9,000 miles of a district," she said.

On Tuesday, county commissioners in Routt and Grand counties approved Roesink's request. Moffat County has offered tentative approval and is scheduled to take up the matter next week.

Routt County commissioners agreed to increase the DA's Office budget by $16,305 for salaries, benefits and operating expenses in 2007, and to increase the budget by about $31,000 in 2008. Routt, Grand and Moffat counties each pay a portion of salaries and benefits for the DA's Office, based on each county's population. Each county has its own operating budget.

Joe DeAngelo is the district's only investigator, Roesink said. He started working for the DA's Office in January 2006. Because of budget cuts, the DA's Office has lost two full-time investigator positions throughout the years, she said.

DeAngelo, who taught a class for Moffat County law enforcement officers Tuesday, said he has been working between 60 and 70 hours a week for the past three months, while juggling between as many as 20 cases at a time.

"It's been brutal," he said.

DeAngelo said he has to prioritize how much time he spends investigating each case.

"Because of our current situation, all my time has been dedicated to these very serious crimes," he said. "Hiring another (investigator) is a great benefit."

DeAngelo said another investigator would lessen the time he spends traveling and allow him to dedicate time to putting together "solid cases" for DA's Office attorneys to prosecute.

"It's really an issue of public safety," he said. "We have a great lifestyle in all three counties, but we've been hit with a rash of very serious crimes. We need to be able to investigate and prosecute (the cases) to the fullest extent of the law in order to preserve that quality of life. We needed an additional position to do that properly."

Routt County Commissioner Doug Monger said Tuesday that adding an investigator to the DA's Office reflects "the reality of what's going on."

"We're aware and cognizant of what's going on," he said.

Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak agreed.

"For us, things just continue to escalate for the DA's Office in terms of the seriousness of the crimes that are coming across," she said.

-To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234

or e-mail adelacruz@steamboatpilot.com

Comments

id04sp 6 years, 6 months ago

So, maybe the lack of prosecutions for white collar crimes in our area is a function of having an investigator who is not above "making a case go away" when proper consideration is offered.

Of course, we'll never know because, gosh, who would investigate it?

Corruption among those who are charged with enforcing the laws is the worst possible kind. We might as well be living in Nazi Germany or the old Soviet Union if the enforcers are part of the criminal enterprise.

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flyguyrye 6 years, 6 months ago

they go the new justice center but a complete inability to process the cases in front of them

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justice4all 6 years, 6 months ago

Lets hope that we get a real investigator this time instead of one with obviously no morals, ethics or respect for the law! Do an internet search---Yahoo search, enter the name JOE DEANGELO, and look at #3 with the lines "Fort Wayne, Indiana Police". You will read that as a police officer, a JOSEPH DEANGELO, solicited a known prostitute, that was facing drug possession charges, to commit a FELONY--Crime Against Nature, involving a person that Deangelo wanted to convict of something. This female was threatened that if she did not cooperate she was facing 40 YEARS in prison. In fact the Supreme Court stated in it's opinion that the max possible was in deed much less. When the female stated that she wanted a laywer, Deangelo stated "WE ARE THE LAWERS", and implied that she was not entitled to Council. Sounds like IMPERSONATION of an ATTORNEY to me! Read the full article--IT is very interesting. To everyone in law enforcement, beware, When DEANGELO says he has your back, it is probably a place the he stores his knife. I can only wonder if this was on his resume when he appLIED for the job here. Did ROSINK do a background check on him? Did she see it and ignore it? Is this the type of person we need in that position? I URGE EVERYONE TO READ THIS INTERNET ARTICLE AND MAKE UP YOUR MIND. Share it with everone that you come in contact with so everyone can be aware of what we have on our D A 's staff. Ms Rosink, I think you should address this in our newspaper. BE ASSURED, THIS IS GOING TO BE SHARED WITH AS MUCH MEDIA AS POSSIBLE!

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twostroketerror 6 years, 6 months ago

With unsupervised militia groups (GRAMNET) giving the DA's office dozens of un-prosecutable cases a year due to a total inability to work within the law ( warrantless searches, harassment), and the DA's rabid pursuit of these cases, the situation will only deteriorate. Only if you have enough $$ to defend yourself do you even stand a chance in Routt County court. I've been there. The DA here has little interest in justice, just her conviction ratio.

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MC 6 years, 6 months ago

"DeAngelo said another investigator would lessen the time he spends traveling and allow him to dedicate time to putting together "solid cases" for DA's Office attorneys to prosecute."

"Solid cases"= lawyerese for "more pleabargains".

"DeAngelo, who taught a class for Moffat County law enforcement officers Tuesday, said he has been working between 60 and 70 hours a week for the past three months, while juggling between as many as 20 cases at a time."

Welcome to your JOB! Now maybe you people up there in the DA's office will get serious about the crime and drugs that have invaded our valley along with 5,000 other invasion issues that have driven up the crime rate in this area. Do something to actually punish the criminals and stop letting people off with a slap on the hand. We the people expect you to work long hard hours to protect us and our rights. If getting some help will actually mean a criminal gets punished and not plea bargained down, I'm all for it. The plea bargain needs abolished from all law.

Gee...too bad that recall 6 months ago did not go through.

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