Stan Garnett, Boulder’s newest District Attorney, is off to a good start. While previous news reports indicated he was going to re-open the JonBenet Ramsey investigation (a lost cause if ever there was one absent new DNA evidence or a valid confession), The Denver Post signals otherwise. Cognizant of the limitations of a 30-lawyer office with six investigators and a $4.5 million budget, it sounds like Garnett’s ready to say, “Enough.” Instead, Garnett says his priorities will be economic crimes, which, as common sense dictates, are bound to rise in this distressed economic climate. But he makes an important point about them: When the economy goes south, domestic violence crimes rise. It’s hard to argue with increased resources being spent to protect physically abused and vulnerable spouses.
Garnett also knows the DA’s office can’t operate in a vacuum. He’s got to have the trust and cooperation of the police department. He’s reaching out to them, and with Boulder so closely tied to the University of Colorado, he’s also reaching out to Chancellor Bud Peterson and athletic director Mike Bohn. Garnett, at 52, is leaving a long and lucrative career as a private commercial lawyer to take the DA job. His last stint as a prosecutor was for Denver in the ’80s, but he says he’s wanted to return to public service for a long time, and he’s now at a point in his life when it’s possible for him to do so. Perhaps he will bring a fresh and balanced approach to the job–one that recognizes the primary purpose of DA is to represent the people of Boulder and the community, and to seek justice, not just a high conviction rate.