Candidates for district attorney show their stripes

Oct 17, 2016

APR News Director Carolyn Sackariason moderates a debate between District 9 DA hopefuls Sherry Caloia, Jeff Cheney, and Chip McCrory.
Credit Barbara Platts / Aspen Public Radio News

  Candidates vying for chief law enforcement official for the Ninth Judicial District squared off last night during a live debate hosted by Aspen Public Radio. Incumbent Sherry Caloia, and challengers Chip McCrory and Jeff Cheney, took on the topics of plea bargains, law enforcement, domestic violence, and the role of political parties in the DA’s office.

McCrory and Cheney said they would be open to retaining the current office staff if they were to unseat Caloia. Cheney also criticized the staff turnover under Caloia’s tenure. Deputy district attorneys in the Ninth Judicial District, which covers Rio Blanco, Garfield and Pitkin counties, earn a lower starting salary than other government attorneys.  

The candidates were able to ask questions of each other.

McCrory questioned Cheney’s ability as a prosecutor if he’s willing to consult with average citizens when working on cases. Cheney said he plans to create a citizen’s advisory group, if elected.

In her concluding remarks, Caloia said as a district attorney, you can’t make everyone happy. But her office operates well and has a good success rate both at trial and in victim payout amounts. Cheney used his final minutes to accuse Caloia of letting petty differences direct her management style.

McCrory said his decades of experience as both a prosecutor and defense attorney make him the most qualified candidate.  

Ballots are in the mail, and valley residents in Pitkin and Garfield counties are being asked to select a head prosecutor to work in their courthouses. The final day to vote is Nov. 8.