Michael O'Hara, left, Chief Judge for the 14th Judicial District, swears in new District Attorney Elizabeth Oldham during ceremonies at the Grand County Judicial Center on Wednesday in Hot Sulphur Springs.

Byron Hetzler/Sky-Hi Daily News

Michael O'Hara, left, Chief Judge for the 14th Judicial District, swears in new District Attorney Elizabeth Oldham during ceremonies at the Grand County Judicial Center on Wednesday in Hot Sulphur Springs.

Oldham takes oath as new district attorney

Former prosecutor leads office with full staffing

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— District Attorney Elizabeth Oldham was sworn into office Wednesday with a full staff underneath her - a rare feat in a district that has long struggled with high prosecutor turnover.

After a flurry of hiring, the 14th Judicial District has four new prosecutors and a new victim/witness coordinator in Moffat County.

"We have now filled all our vacancies : knock on wood," Oldham said.

Just last week, she invited Patrick Welch to fill a prosecutor vacancy in Moffat County. He will begin work in Craig on Tuesday and become full time in February after transitioning from Denver, Oldham said.

Rebecca Voynas is a new deputy district attorney in Routt County and will handle the county court cases. Russ Prindle, who most recently took care of the county court docket, now will be working on felony cases alongside prosecutor Carl Stahl.

In Grand County, Dan Miroflor essentially will be taking over Oldham's former prosecutor position, handling felony cases. Miroflor is a former Denver police officer who most recently worked as a prosecutor in Colorado Springs, Oldham said. Scott Sweeney recently was hired as the deputy district attorney for county court at the Hot Sulphur Springs office.

Oldham said she was very pleased with the recent hires and thinks the new staff members intend to remain in the 14th Judicial District for quite some time. In the past year, the Steamboat Springs office had greater than 100 percent turnover.

"I feel I was pretty fortunate not only to get people who were qualified, but people who want to live in the area where they are," Oldham said.

The new D.A. also gave credit to former District Attorney Bonnie Roesink, for letting Oldham "get her feet wet" with hires and other administrative duties before she actually was sworn in.

Last week, Roesink told the Craig Daily Press she plans to take a year off before deciding what to do next, and she has considered volunteering or working as a mediator.

"I'm out of politics," Roesink said. "I learned my lesson."

Roesink spent more than 20 years as a prosecutor in the 14th Judicial District and was appointed district attorney in 2003. She was elected to a full term in 2004, but she did not seek re-election in the most recent contest, opting to retire instead.

Although Oldham will continue to be based in Grand County, she plans to spend at least one day a week in the 14th Judicial District's other offices, in Routt and Moffat counties.

On Monday, Oldham had interviews at 8:30 a.m. in Craig, requiring her to leave her house in Grand Lake at 5 a.m., she said.

Oldham plans to continue working on a few of her cases, notably a child death case in Grand County and Thomas Lee Johnson's retrial in June, which will take place in Larimer County. Johnson was granted a new trial in 2006 because of an error in the instructions given to a 12-member jury that found him guilty of first-degree murder in the May 2000 killing of Steamboat Springs resident Lori Bases.

Oldham also has spent time getting acquainted with new parts of the 14th Judicial District, taking part in Moffat County's drug court last week for the first time, and she said she plans to begin work on establishing domestic violence fast-track and citizen advisory committees. Both of those were elements of Oldham's campaign platform - and that of her opponent, Tammy Stewart.

Those proposed programs will take some time to set up, Oldham said. Developing a system to speed up the prosecution of domestic violence cases will require working with law enforcement agencies and courts in each county, she said.

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