20 Under 40: Alexandra Jennings fell in love with the courtroom
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Entering the Routt County courtroom, Alexandra Jennings, 29, pulls on her jacket and settles into her appointed seat. It’s the one reserved for district attorneys, where she rightfully belongs as Steamboat Springs’ newest assistant DA — one who recently helped bring down an infamous sexual predator who used drugs to lure in local girls.
When: 5 to 7 p.m. July 26
Where: Haymaker Patio Grill
Cost: $35, $15 for Young Professionals Network members
“We could not ask for a more well-rounded and effective prosecution advocate for those in our community who are victimized in this way,” said long-time prosecutor Matt Karzen, who serves as assistant DA for the 14th Judicial District.
“She’s one of the most effective young deputy district attorneys I have ever seen, and our community is both blessed and safer for her presence,” Karzen said.
It’s a pretty strong endorsement for a young woman who was fresh out of law school just three years ago. Jennings credits the DA offices in Steamboat, Craig and Grand County with great support and attentive backup.
“There’s a good relationship among all the offices, which we are lucky to have,” Jennings said. “Knowing that there’s someone there and they can help you is really wonderful.”
Defense attorney and sometimes “foe” Larry Combs has watched 48 years of district attorneys at work.
“She’s a very competent jury trial lawyer,” Combs said. “She’s very assured, confident and sort of fearless.”
Raised mostly in Colorado Springs, Jennings attended University of Colorado Boulder and then law school at the University of Denver with a keen interest in international business, but then, she interned at the Broomfield DA’s office.
“I fell in love with it. I love talking to people. I love doing trials. I love being in the courtroom all the time,” Jennings said.
Jennings honed her trial skills as a student competitor in the famous Jessup international law competitions where she now helps coach DU law students.
For now, Jennings has put international business on the back burner as she grinds her way through life as an up-and-coming prosecutor who is looking to reform the system.
“So my biggest issue currently is how we treat mental health and how difficult it is to prosecute sex assaults,” Jennings said.
She’s closely following a new mental health juvenile “diversion” program being tried out in Denver that helps defendants get healthy and avoid being branded as criminals.
In the meantime, Jennings, an ardent runner, has picked up a mountain biking habit from locals.
“So far I’ve been up Emerald (Mountain), and I’ve taken a couple whacks at Buff Pass. Or maybe Buff Pass has taken a couple of whacks at me,” laughed Jennings.
The young prosecutor can also be seen coaching Steamboat girls lacrosse during her spare time.
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Peak Health Alliance, a health care purchasing cooperative created in Summit County in 2018 after it had one of the highest average health care costs in the nation, is looking to expand to Routt County.