DA questions attorney’s competency

Alexis DeLaCruz

Attorney Heather Turner’s legal troubles escalated Thursday night when she was arrested at her Hayden home on a bench warrant issued after she failed to appear in court.

Turner, 44, was scheduled for a pre-trial conference earlier this week and a trial Thursday, but didn’t show up, authorities said. She had failed to appear in court for about a month for her legal issues and those of her clients.

County Judge James Garrecht issued the arrest warrant.

Turner faces two Class 3 misdemeanor charges of check fraud and harassment.

Turner’s law license was suspended in December after officials at the Colorado Supreme Court Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel began receiving complaints about her failure to comply with court orders from judges and instructions from clients.

District Judge Michael O’Hara ruled Nov. 25 that Turner had abandoned her clients. The order outlined the court’s frustration with her lack of communication and refusal to follow court orders.

Turner appeared in Routt County Court on Friday afternoon via teleconference for her advisement with Garrecht, who said there was a separate warrant out for her arrest from Park County.

Deputy District Attorney Tammy Jenson told Garrecht she had doubts about Turner’s competency to face legal proceedings.

Nancy Smith with the Dep–artment of Human Services also addressed those concerns.

“I am now led to believe there are some mental health issues that need to be evaluated,” Smith said.

Garrecht asked Turner if she thought she was capable of proceeding with her cases.

Turner replied with a firm “yes.”

Garrecht asked Turner whether she understood the charges, the possible consequences and that he could order her to go to Pueblo for a mental health evaluation.

Turner said she understood.

“Still, we’re have some concerns based on the past month of Ms. Turner’s life,” Jenson said.

Garrecht told Turner he was comfortable that she understood and asked her how she wanted to proceed.

Turner said she wanted to discuss plea offers with prosecutors in the fraud and harassment cases instead of pursuing a trial.

Deputy District Jay Cranmer told Garrecht he could have a potential plea offer for Turner by Monday.

Garrecht set Turner’s bond at $10,000. She is scheduled to appear in court at 1 p.m. Monday.

— To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234

or e-mail

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