District attorney plans to defend against recall | SteamboatToday.com

District attorney plans to defend against recall

— Fighting for her political future, 14th Judicial District Attorney Bonnie Roesink said Sunday she intends to make herself available to the public and defend her prosecutorial record.

“I’m here now, I’m talking,” said Roesink, who’s the focus of Craig resident Kathy Oberwitte’s recall petition. “I’m going to try and let people know I do want my job, I do want to finish my term. : I am proud of my record. I think I’ve done a very good job.

“(Voters) are welcome to call with questions. I invite them to call me or come and see me at any time.”

Roesink addressed an array of topics Sunday concerning her tenure as district attorney and what she hopes to accomplish with continued service.

She listed a 40 percent reduction in Moffat County felonies from 2005 to 2006, continued progress toward a drug court and a tough, yet even-handed, approach to prosecuting cases as highlights thus far.

Oberwitte and circulators in Moffat, Routt and Grand counties allege Roesink has led an office that lacks consistent prosecution and has been soft on crime.

Roesink countered the criticisms.

She said the felony reduction – 317 felonies, 131 drug cases in 2005 against 188 felonies and 71 drug cases in 2006 in Moffat County – is evidence that her office’s prosecutions have helped reduce part of the area’s drug problem.

“Bottom line, the meth has gone down,” she said.

Her office, Roesink said, also was one of 40 in the country to receive grant money to attend drug court training last year. Roesink wrote the grant application.

The drug court, she said, will be instrumental in deterring methamphetamine use and distribution. Roesink hopes to launch the drug court in Moffat County and then expand it to Routt and Grand counties.

As for being soft on charging criminals, Roesink said she has learned to understand the difference between people selling drugs for profit and people selling drugs so they can continue using. She makes no bones about seeking strict punishment for the former.

The recall petition was triggered by the Dustin Lund-Michael Bailey fatality crash in February 2006. Lund was allegedly under the influence of methamphetamine when his vehicle collided with Bailey’s.

However, a blood test confirming Lund’s drug use was negated by improper procedure, making the test results inadmissible. Lt. Col. Dale King, regional commander of the Western Slope, said troopers had neither probable cause nor consent to withdraw blood from the suspect.

After reviewing the case, Roesink charged Lund with misdemeanor careless driving resulting in death, a charge she said was the lone avenue available given the botched handling of the Lund drug test.

The Morrison resident has pleaded guilty to the charge and faces a maximum sentence of one year in county jail and a $1,000 fine.

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