Denver Bar Association
March 2004
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DAs Forum, March 31, 4 p.m., DBA Offices




Most attorneys would agree there is no substitute for real, on-the-job experience. The best candidate for Denver DA should demonstrate dedication and commitment to the profession of prosecution and have the experience to effectively administer the office of DA. I have prosecuted some of Denver’s most notorious criminals in the past 20 years, and as Chief Deputy DA, I have years of administrative expertise. I have worked under two Denver DAs, which gives me a breadth of experience and perspective. I am a Denver native and fourth-generation Coloradan who knows this city. I will continue the good work of the DA’s Office, and I have a vision for the future that includes new programs such as a specialized sexual assault unit, the expanded use of forensic technology and an education program to increase both public awareness and trust.

Mitch Morrissey, 46, University of Denver College of Law grad, is currently Chief Deputy District Attorney in charge of Division 13 of the Denver District Court . He’s a former head of the District Attorney’s Gang Unit. Mitch was presented Colorado’s "Prosecutor of the Year Award" in 2001 and received the "Award for Prosecution Excellence," presented annually by the Colorado District Attorneys Council. He was sworn in as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney in 2002 to assist in the prosecution of federal cases involving DNA evidence. He is a fourth-generation Coloradan and a third- generation prosecutor.

Our new Mayor and City Council members have shown that strong, creative new leadership can bring progress to our city even in the face of economic challenges. I am a candidate for Denver District Attorney in that spirit, and will bring both strong law enforcement experience as a former federal prosecutor and creative new leadership to the job.

As DA, I will build upon the legacy of our current DA, Bill Ritter, a dedicated public servant who has made an enormous contribution to Denver. Like him, I will be tough on crime, and will also work tirelessly to prevent it. I will work with law enforcement and the public to make the DA’s office a national model: a powerful force for maintaining our city’s safety, and for positive community-focused change; and a protector of our people and a protector of the freedoms we hold dear. Working together, we can achieve that goal.

John Walsh, 42, grew up in Denver, Stanford Law School graduate (editor of Law Review, Order of the Coif). He worked for a federal judge for a year and as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. attorney’s office in L.A. for 8 years, where he served as chief of the Major Frauds Section. Since 1995, he has been a partner with Holland & Hart and, currently, Hill & Robbins. He was chair of the Southern California Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force; prosecuted hundreds of criminal cases, including narcotics, assault, smuggling, environmental and a wide variety of white-collar cases. For four years, he served as an on-air legal consultant to CBA on the Oklahoma City bombing trials. He speaks Spanish.

Denver is a vibrant, exciting, welcoming city. It must stay safe so all can live free from the fear of crime. I have the experience, judgment, leadership, and skill to lead the Denver District Attorney’s Office.

The DA’s responsibility is to pursue and convict criminals through tough but fair prosecution. I was a Deputy DA in Denver for over seven years, prosecuting hundreds of cases.

The DA must advocate for victims of crime, respecting their voices, and protecting their security.

The DA must be forceful in crime prevention. I led Denver’s Safe City program directed at preventing violence by and against Denver’s youth.

I am anxious to once again make a difference for this city I love.

Beth McCann, 55, Georgetown Law School graduate, is Deputy Attorney General for Litigation. She clerked for U.S. District Judge Sherman Finesilver; served almost eight years as deputy, then Chief Deputy District Attorney in Denver. She moved to Cooper & Kelley for seven years. She became Mayor Webb’s first Manager of Safety, with a budget of $170 million and a staff of 3,000. She started the Mayor’s Safe City Office in 1994. In 1995, she was appointed Director of Excise and Licenses. She has taught at NITA, was a founder of the Colorado Women’s Bar (president, ’85-’86), served on boards of the DBA and CBA, and was on Mayor Hickenlooper’s transition team. She was named Outstanding Young Lawyer by the Denver Bar, and Colorado Woman of the Year 2000 by the Colorado Women’s Coalition.

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