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‘Our communities deserve better,’ Fremont Co. Commissioners sound off on 11th Judicial DA

FREMONT COUNTY, Colo. (KRDO) – For the first time publicly, the Fremont County Commissioners addressed the alleged dysfunction inside the 11th Judicial District Attorney's Office.

During Tuesday's public meeting, Commissioner Dwayne McFall said he's reached out to the Colorado Attorney General's office to inquire about what can be done with elected District Attorney Linda Stanley.

For months, 13 Investigates has revealed details on numerous case dismissals, people accused of sex offenses getting no-cash bond due to discovery violations, and law enforcement in Fremont County growing increasingly frustrated with her office's handling of cases. Now, the three people who fund her office use pointed words to discuss her conduct.

Fremont County citizens Tim Jordan and Kathy Madonna asked the commissioners about concerns over Stanley's budget and handling of various criminal cases during the meeting.

"We have murders that are being discharged and dismissed. Please do whatever you can to get her out and get somebody competent in. I don't care which party it is. I don't care," Madonna told the commissioners.

Commissioner McFall responded to Madonna's pleas by reassuring her that her concerns are shared by County Commissioners in all four counties Stanley represents; Fremont, Chaffee, Park, and Custer counties.

"She let a sex offender in Chaffee County go like two days before she did down here. I've been in touch with the Attorney General's office. They're well aware of it. She hasn't broken the law yet, unfortunately," McFall exclaimed.

McFall agreed with Madonna saying "Our communities deserve better."

He has concerns over the impact that case dismissals and discovery violations are and will have on crime victims in all four counties.

"We seem to becoming the county of sex offenders. I don't know if it's because we don't do anything about it or if we're not paying enough, I don't know. But it's got to stop," Madonna said.

Fremont County resident Tim Jordan voiced concerns over Stanley's budget and ongoing negotiations with the Fremont County Commissioners on raising the funding of Stanley's office. All three commissioners said they have kept Stanley's budget the same for 2023 because she has not turned over financial information for prior years, despite multiple requests to meet with her in late 2022.

"The DA did ask for a 5% increase in salaries. Where does that stand currently? Was there any increase at all with the DA's budget this year," Jordan questioned.

"No, there was not an increase. We requested financials from the D.A. and did not receive the financials that we needed to make a fair and calculated assessment of what her budget is. We never received that," McFall said.

McFall said this is why all four counties have kept her funding the exact same as in prior years. 13 Investigates obtained emails that show the commissioners and DA Stanley weren't able to schedule a formal budget meeting for multiple months in 2022.

Commissioner Debbie Bell said that the Fremont County cyber attack in August 2022 contributed to not allowing the parties to meet in a timely fashion, and further prompted them to keep the 2023 funding of her office the same as in 2022.

"We had no computers. We had access to nothing. We were not setting up meetings. We couldn't calendar anything. No one else made the attempt to get the commissioners and the district attorney together to talk about the 2023 budget," Bell told Jordan.

Once the county's computers were back up and running, McFall sent an email to Stanley in February 2023. In that email, he requested expenditure statements from the DA's office, which was the same request they had collectively made for multiple months in 2022. According to McFall, those emails were ignored by Stanley.

The County Commissioners were eventually able to meet with Stanley to discuss her budget that same month. However, McFall says Stanley was not able to present any part of her financials that would give those in charge of funding her office a gauge of the monetary needs of the office.

"We did have that meeting in February where we requested those financials again and still haven't received them," McFall said.

13 Investigates was able to obtain the 11th Judicial District Attorney's offices financials for the 2022 calendar year through a public records request.

Those records reveal that the offices' net income, which is income minus the cost of expenses, was a little over $475,000 in debt. Those financial statements are included below.

According to the County Commissioners, the year-end budget for 2023 is due in just a few short months, sometime in July or August. They said they hope to have a better idea of the financial needs of Stanley's office by that time.

As we have done each time we report on Stanley's office, we have reached out to her for comment on her handling of criminal cases or her budget. So far today, we have not heard back from the embattled 11th Judicial District Attorney.

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Sean Rice

Sean is reporter with the 13 Investigates team. Learn more about him here.


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