Steamboat Springs A University of Notre Dame Law School graduate from Denver hopes to gain courtroom experience in her new role as a Routt County deputy district attorney.
Erica Longnecker, 30, started her new job Thursday, which included being sworn in by Routt County Judge James Garrecht.
“It’s beautiful and everyone is very friendly, so I’m looking forward to living here,” Longnecker said. “It’s a new area of law for me.”
After earning her undergraduate degree in history from the University of Colorado Boulder, Longnecker worked for a commercial real estate firm before attending law school.
She has spent the past two years working at a small civil litigation firm in Denver and wanted to explore other areas of law.
“I found all of it interesting,” Longnecker said. “I always wanted to do court work and criminal law.”
Longnecker is filling a position in the District Attorney’s Office vacated by Jennifer Wunsch, and she will be responsible for handling misdemeanor cases heard in Routt County Court.
With limited courtroom experience, Longnecker will spend the coming weeks learning from Chief Deputy District Attorney Rusty Prindle.
“I don’t believe in throwing people to the wolves,” Prindle said. “Ultimately, little by little, she’ll take over the docket.”
Prindle said Longnecker would have the opportunity to gain a lot of experience in court.
“Knowing the law is just the beginning,” Prindle said. “No two cases are the same. That’s why I love it.”
The District Attorney’s Office handles upwards of 2,000 misdemeanor and traffic offense cases each year, Prindle said. He said driving under the influence, driving under revocation and domestic violence cases are the most common cases heard in Routt County Court.
Another new attorney will start work for the District Attorney’s Office on Aug. 22.
Fourteenth Judicial District Attorney Elizabeth Oldham has named former Moffat County Chief Deputy District Attorney Brett Barkey as her new assistant.
Barkey’s duties will include mentoring prosecutors in the 14th Judicial District and helping with administrative duties.
To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com