It is hard to forget that 2016 is a Presidential election year, but there are other important issues on the ballot as well, including judicial retention and local district attorney races.
Local judges are appointed, so they are not voted into office, but once a judge is appointed, he or she must be retained by popular vote at regular intervals. While voting to retain or not retain a local judge may not seem like an important decision, it is.
County court and district court judges, who are subject to retention, make decisions about issues related to child custody, divorce, criminal, DUI and traffic cases. Many people have never had any experience in court, but deciding who gets to make decisions about your family, children and physical freedom, should you or a loved one find yourself in that position, is an important decision, so please do your research on the judges when deciding whether to retain a judge.
The Denver District Attorney race is also drawing local attention. Beth McCann beat out Kenneth Boyd and Michael Carrigan in the Democratic primary earlier this year. Helen Morgan, a current deputy at the Denver DA’s Office, is running as an independent. DA’s in other major metro area counties are also up for election, including Jefferson, Adams and Arapahoe.
The elected DA holds a great amount of power because the elected determines how his or her office will prosecute cases. This includes not only whether people will be prosecuted, but if they are prosecuted, whether a plea bargain will be offered and, if so, what type of plea bargain will be extended. The elected does not handle every case, but establishes the way in which his or her line deputies (hired attorneys) handle cases. Please do your research about the candidates for DA in your county before you vote.
Most importantly, please take the time to vote this election year.