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Pueblo District Attorney’s Office seeing 20% decrease in staffing

KRDO

PUEBLO, Colo. (KRDO) -- The 10th Judicial District Attorneys Office in Pueblo County is experiencing a staffing shortage resulting in the reduction of 20 percent of their staff.

According to District Attorney Jeff Chostner, his team is down five attorneys, forcing his office to push back some trials.

"I am short 20 percent of my trial attorneys, which has consequences in terms of how quickly we go to trial. Justice can always be slow, but this makes it even slower," Chostner told KRDO.

Chostner acknowledged that the delays have led to some public frustration, but he said his team is working to hire new attorneys.

"We are doing all that we can to recruit new attorneys to Pueblo County, so we can more capable and efficiently prosecute cases," Chostner said.

But the DA's office isn't seeing many applications right now, and it's not the first time they have dealt with attorney shortages.

The DA's Office is not the only law enforcement agency experiencing shortages. Currently, the Pueblo Police Department is short 31 patrol officers.

"I don't think that they are not getting to certain crimes, I think they are. I believe the community is still protected," Chostner said.

"Across the board, law enforcement is suffering from a lack of applicants. The DA's office being part of the law enforcement team, we are suffering the same kind of problems," Chostner said. "The issue is somewhat of a knock that law enforcement has taken over the last couple of years. I think it has discouraged many from going into law enforcement."

The District Attorney's Office has been recruiting greener lawyers who may still be in law school.

"We are taking a look at attorneys that are maybe in their third year in law school or people who are awaiting bar results. We are going deeper into the job pool," Chostner said.

Chostner assured the public that they are not turning cases down, or not charging a category of cases.

"The wheels of justice grind slowly but grind they do. We are carrying on and doing the best job we can."

Author Profile Photo

Sean Rice

Sean is a reporter based out of Pueblo for KRDO. Learn more about him here.

Comments

7 Comments

    1. Law Enforcement and the Media do not want to give out enough of the information to complete the mathematical equation(s) for ourselves. They just want to give us percentages or statistics not the full data, we’re easier to manipulate without all the full, raw data. They are so concerned the public will know what the actual numbers are and cause panic and fear amongst the populace and / or further embolden the criminals to increasing their activities further.

      1. That being said, the article states, “20 percent of my trial attorneys” and then states “his team is down five attorneys”. Ergo, if 20% = 5 attorneys, one can approximate that their department has approximately 25 Deputy DA’s when fully staffed. Thus, meaning there is 20 still working.
        ***the only vagueness is he states trial attorneys not all attorneys***
        When they do not tell us the above reason is why, the rest of the time it is hidden in the article and you have to find the parts of the equation, and solve for x.

  1. Now is the time to push for your speedy trials if you haven’t entered into plea talks with the DA’s Office yet. If you haven’t entered into negotiation with the DA’s Office yet, there is a time limit and it is the burden of the judicial system to meet those obligations. If you have, then this case could go on until they are ready to take their case to trial.
    “Only about 1% of criminal cases in Colorado in 2019 ended in trial, according to state data.”
    https://www.denverpost.com/2020/11/02/plea-deals-racial-bias-colorado/
    Feel you have a chance of proving your innocence or believe that the state cannot prove your guilt, take it to trial. The Judicial system gets used so rarely in its entirety that if you invoke your Consttutional rights, you may find yourself in a different position than you did before and a lot sooner than the DA’s office and the Police Department want, but this is your Consttutional right to a speedy trial. This is merely a Public Service Announcement and is not intended to sway anyone one way or the other, merely make them aware of this as a viable and legal option.

    1. Too often there are people charged with a crime who are innocent get coerced into taking a plea deal. Often it is because they are afraid of receiving a stiffer sentence if found guilty in a trial then they would receive if they take a plea deal. Also the expense of a lawyer and other details maybe a deterrent.
      Everyone should be familiar with the “citizens rule book”. It describes a person’s rights under the Consti*tution if charged with a crime. It is also provides important information for anyone chosen to be on a jury.
      !!
      https://patriotnetwork.info/Citizens_rule_book.htm

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