Gov. Jared Polis on Aug. 29 announced the appointment of Anne Kelly to serve as the 12th Judicial District Attorney, serving Alamosa, Conejos, Costilla, Mineral, Rio Grande and Saguache counties. The appointment follows a several months-long investigation into the 12th Judicial District Attorney’s Office’s violation of the Victim’s Rights Act, failing to communicate with victims and failing to treat them with respect and dignity. Former DA Alonzo Payne resigned on July 13 and Polis appointed Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser to the district in an interim capacity.
“Coloradans must have the opportunity to make their voices heard to make our state a better place, and that’s exactly what the people of the San Luis Valley did when they felt their concerns were not being taken seriously or treated with respect,” said Polis in the press release. “An effective prosecutor takes the concerns of law enforcement, commissioners, and victims and works to address them through common-sense problem-solving, and I’m confident that’s what Anne Kelly will do as the new DA for the 12th Judicial District.”
“I am honored to be selected for this role and my top priority is to restore trust in the Office of the District Attorney and the criminal justice system. Restoring trust requires transparency, constant engagement, and implementation of effective systems while prioritizing being accessible to the community including law enforcement, victims, community groups, and defense attorneys,” said newly appointed DA Anne Kelly in the press release.
Polis thanked Weiser and the district attorneys from across the state who lent staff support throughout this process. Polis also thanked the panel members, which he announced in July, that reviewed applications and recommended finalists for the position. The panel included: former 2nd Judicial District Attorney and former Gov. Bill Ritter, former 12th Judicial District Attorney Eugene Farish, former 20th Judicial District Attorney Stan Garnett, former 8th Judicial District Attorney Cliff Reidel and Chief Legal Counsel to Gov. Polis Kara Veitch.
“Anne is a terrific choice, she will do a great job of putting together an office that is facing challenges and overcoming the backlog they are facing,” said Farish in the announcement. “Anne is already on top of it, she will have the backing of local law enforcement, we felt she would be the person to best address these issues and take on these cases as she is in the process of rebuilding this office.”
According to the announcement, Kelly has extensive legal experience, beginning her career in law nearly 20 years ago. She worked in the private sector and previously served in positions with Colorado’s 18th, 19th and 20th Judicial District Attorney’s Offices, focusing on prosecuting domestic violence and trying cases on homicide, sexual assault, fraud and other crimes.
Kelly will begin serving as DA for the 12th Judicial District on Sept. 1.
“We welcome Anne to this new role, bringing her experience as a prosecutor, thank her for answering this new and challenging call to public service, and know she is committed to bringing everyone to the table to deliver justice and restore trust and confidence in the District Attorney’s Office. As she rebuilds the District Attorney’s office, we will help her succeed in any way we can,” Polis said in the announcement.