MINERAL COUNTY — Mineral County Commissioners welcomed 12th Judicial District Attorney Anne Kelly to their meeting on Dec. 20. This was the first appearance Kelly had made in Mineral County since her recent election in November.
Kelly gave a brief update on current projects happening within the district attorney’s office beginning with an announcement that she would be hiring three additional attorneys to help handle cases by the first of the year.
Though Kelly is still hopeful to hire a total of nine attorneys per her request in her proposed 2023 budget, her office is still waiting for confirmation of approval of the 2023 budget and so she stated that she would wait for that confirmation before seeking additional attorneys. It was stated that approval of the budget was in the final stages and that a preliminary budget has been approved.
“We have not heard about the final budget yet, which is challenging in terms of thinking about how many more lawyers we can hire. While we will have five lawyers at the end of January, we are still interested in hiring the full nine that I requested in my budget proposal,” Kelly said.
Kelly gave her heartfelt thanks to all the San Luis Valley for their support for the proposed budget and continued her update.
“I can very confidently and with a lot of pleasure announce that not for the foreseeable future be needing any additional assistance from the state, by having lawyers coming down here to help with dockets. That is a huge relief for me to make sure that we have our office filled,” said Kelly.
Kelly continued to state that due to the recent incidences that have happened all over the Valley in the last several months, she is dedicating her time to making sure those cases are being handled correctly and according to the law.
“We have had a lot of really big, and tragic things happened in this district in the last couple of months, those cases are going to be handled appropriately and I am talking about the shooting in Alamosa as well as the officer-involved shooting in Rio Grande County. We also had a homicide last week in Alamosa and so we are fully involved in those cases,” she said.
Kelly explained that she was present at all the scenes while officers collected evidence and made sure that the cases were handled correctly in accordance with the law.
“I am really glad that I am in my position because the investigations were challenging and obviously, they required the district attorney’s office involvement,” Kelly said.
Kelly stated that the office also hired a diversion coordinator who will be reviewing cases and helping the attorneys decide whether a case will be deferred.
“This is a really important position,” Kelly said. “This person is going to be reviewing all of our cases to figure out if appropriate to divert. That was not present in the last district attorney’s office, and this will help us manage our case load and we will be able to move forward with more organization.”
At the end of the update, Mineral County Commissioner Jesse Albright spoke to Kelly about potentially hosting public forums to discuss some of the bigger issues facing the district today including educating people about sex trafficking in the San Luis Valley and fentanyl abuse throughout the region.
Kelly stated that she would be more than willing to join outreach and educational efforts now that things are becoming more and more organized in the district attorney’s office. Kelly finished her update by stating that the 300 backlogged cases will be filed with the courts within the next six months and with the help of the additional attorneys, all counties within the Valley will be fully staffed.