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Polis forms panel to choose finalists for new district attorney in Cortez

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis unveils signs for Memorial Rock, a house-size boulder that fell on Colorado Highway 145 on May 24, 2019.
Interim prosecutor will fill in pending governor’s appointment; DA Margeson leaving to serve as Dolores County judge

Gov. Jared Polis has appointed Colorado Attorney General Phillip Weiser to serve as the state prosecutor for the 22nd District Attorney’s office until a new district attorney is appointed.

However, it is likely a staff attorney from the AG office will fill the role, said current DA Matt Margeson.

He has not been informed who it will be yet, but “I’d be very surprised” if Weiser is the one to fill the interim appointment. “I’m sure it will be a skilled and competent attorney from their office.”

The interim prosecutor will begin serving Feb. 27, according to a Polis news release.

Earlier this month, Margeson was appointed by Polis to serve as the Dolores County Court judge.

District Attorney Matt Margeson makes closing statements in the Ronald Morosko hunting trial in Cortez. Margeson has been appointed to serve as Dolores County judge. (Jim Mimiaga/The Journal)

On Saturday, Polis announced a panel to review applications and recommend finalists to him for the appointment of the new district attorney for the 22nd Judicial District. The district includes Montezuma and Dolores Counties.

Panel members include:

  • Gov. Bill Ritter, former DA for the 2nd Judicial District (Denver).
  • Christian Champagne, district attorney for the 6th Judicial District (La Plata, Archuleta, and San Juan counties).
  • Stan Garnett, former district attorney for the 20th Judicial District (Boulder).
  • Dan Rubenstein, district attorney for the 21st Judicial District (Mesa County).
  • Kara Veitch, chief legal counsel to Polis.

The application process will remain open until qualified candidates are found. Interviews will begin the week of Feb. 27. Those interested should submit resumes and cover letters to: gov_officeoflegalcounsel@state.co.us. The salary for the district attorney position is $135,000/year.

The individual appointed will serve through the current term. The next election for the district attorney in the 22nd Judicial District will be the general election in November 2024.

Feb 8, 2023
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The 22nd Judicial District Attorney’s office had 19 employees, including four attorneys – Margeson and Deputy District Attorneys Jeremy Reed, Mark Franklin, and Verily Jones.

As DA, Margeson handles a full docket, with a focus on felony cases and juvenile cases. In a given year, he acquires about 200 felony cases and 50 juvenile cases.

Margeson said he will meet with the AG office this week about the interim prosecutor appointment.

The position is very temporary, and the permanent DA is expected to be appointed by Polis quickly, Margeson said.

The Journal reached out to Phil Wieser’s office for additional information but had not heard back as of publication.