Brauchler has been known to say "I don't come from government" — a curious statement from someone who's spent a decade as a county prosecutor and many years serving in the Army Reserve, including two mobilizations. His larger argument, though, is that Feldman has been part of the judicial bureaucracy in Arapahoe County for decades.

"I have no doubt that his motivations to be DA are because he thinks he can improve the office," Brauchler says of Feldman. "But the last time Ethan tried a case, Barack Obama was a teenager. My guess is that he hasn't ever used PowerPoint. That's why my experience, versus experience that's 32 years old, makes a difference."

Feldman bristles at the notion that his years in private practice and on the bench don't count. "His theory is that in 1980 I left the DA's office and ran away to the circus, then came back last year to run for DA," he says. "He's actually denigrating my whole career. But I tell the truth about my career."

Current 18th Judicial District Attorney Carol Chambers has twice been successful in prosecuting death-penalty cases.
Current 18th Judicial District Attorney Carol Chambers has twice been successful in prosecuting death-penalty cases.
James Holmes, the suspect in the Aurora shootings case, may face a preliminary hearing next month — but an actual trial is many months away.
James Holmes, the suspect in the Aurora shootings case, may face a preliminary hearing next month — but an actual trial is many months away.

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As the race enters its final weeks, Feldman has gone on the offensive, accusing Brauchler of exaggerating and distorting his record. Brauchler denies the charge and suggests that Feldman is misleading voters by touting his judicial experience, since most cases in county court involve misdemeanors, bond hearings and traffic matters, in contrast to the life-and-death decisions confronting a district attorney in a place as besieged as the 18th.

In other words, both candidates are beginning to act a lot like prosecutors.

******

George Brauchler first learned about prosecutorial politics in 2008, when he challenged the incumbent district attorney for her seat. It was his "trial by fire," he says. He started out looking for someone to support, a Republican bold enough to run against Chambers — whose husband, defense attorney Nathan Chambers, also happened to be the head of the GOP in Arapahoe County. When he couldn't find one, he was persuaded to take on the mission himself.

"The response from the entrenched supporters [of Chambers] was visceral," he recalls. "I had people put their finger in my chest and say, 'Who do you think you are?' I told them I'm a guy who wants to improve the DA's office."

Brauchler has always had a strong sense of who he is and who he might become. The son of a systems analyst and a federal civil-rights investigator, he grew up in a Lakewood household where "there was no mocking or making fun of people who were weaker than you," he says. He attended the University of Colorado on an ROTC scholarship and interned at the Jefferson County DA's office while still in law school. He began working there as a twelve-dollar-an-hour deputy, handling misdemeanors, and gradually moved up to more complex cases.

He credits his mentors in that office, including Chief Deputy DA Steve Jensen and Brian Boatright, now a Colorado Supreme Court justice, with influencing his own approach to prosecution. "You work with people who have a real sound sense of justice, and you start to look at the system differently," Brauchler says. "It's not just about convictions. It's not just about locking people up."

Sometimes, he learned, it's about knowing when to take a case to trial and when to settle it. His first sexual-assault-on-a-child case remains a touchstone of sorts; there was no physical evidence to support a five-year-old girl's confused account of being molested by a neighbor during bizarre "games" staged at his house, but Brauchler believed the victim and found the accused's explanations preposterous. A jury agreed.

"On paper, that was a case that was ripe to be plea-bargained away," Brauchler says. "But no plea bargain was appropriate. If you believe you have the right guy, and the victims are on board, you still go to trial. It's not going to be CSI all the time, but I'm never going to plea-bargain out of fear. I want people who aren't afraid to go to trial if it's the right thing to do."

By contrast, Brauchler describes the case against Mark Manes and Phil Duran, the seller and middleman in the deal that provided a TEC-9 to Columbine killer Dylan Klebold, as one that didn't need to go to trial. Brauchler was second chair in the case to Jensen, who hammered out plea deals that netted a six-year prison sentence for Manes and 54 months for Duran. Some victims' families were outraged that the penalties weren't more severe — but prosecutors were also accused of scapegoating the pair, since the killers were no longer alive to take the blame. At Duran's sentencing, Brauchler urged the judge to "send a message" about illegal gun sales by sending Duran to prison rather than probation.

"The easiest thing to do with these guys would have been to pile-drive them into the ground," he notes. "But we could achieve justice for the community by having them plead guilty to what they did and not seek to stack the charges. Nobody was truly happy with it. But we're accomplishing justice here."

In 2001, Brauchler left the DA's office, eager to start a family — he and his wife now have four children — and drawn by the prospect of higher earnings at a medical-malpractice defense firm. The job didn't work out as he'd hoped: "I went from being the second chair on Columbine to sitting behind a computer, going blind doing discovery letters, working for a partner, billable hours, all that. It was painful."

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22 comments
KrisT
KrisT

Ok...do you all know the election is over? In my opinion the best man didn't win and that's too bad. I wasn't going to comment but Corey S - what is your deal? How is George tolerating your behavior and your comment since that's what you're saying? You really have issues, this election is over, why are you even saying anything. Your comments don't deserve a response, but I couldn't resist. Feldman is a great man, I have know him for years. Corey, it's in George's best interest for you to stop commenting on things at all! What's the point!!!!! George and 'Corey" need to put on your big boy pants and hope that the 18th gets better - it needs some work!

Ruth
Ruth

Brauchler and team took the high road? Really? I think not. Ask the congregants of St. Luke‚Äôs who received a letter penned by church member Kory Nelson to appear that the church had endorsed Brauchler, a ‚Äúfellow Christian‚ÄĚ. Brauchler used his team of low riders to do his dirty work. The letter may well compromise the church‚Äôs charitable tax designation. More to come. Stay tuned.

coreys2012
coreys2012

Ethan Feldman is a fraud.   His penned an article titled "keeping politics out of prosecution" that slams George Brauchler for a theater shooting reference. Are you serious Ethan--how about staying relevant with current events?  Ethan decides to publish this in a (public and online) newspaper; this is a political statement by itself given that we have an upcoming election (covered by the paper). Then Ethan talks about how he wouldn't use the shooting for politics (but that is exactly what he does at length in the article).  Where is the Westword on that one?  Yes, Ethan is either stupid or deceitful.  I will go with deceitful. 

 

Additionally, Ethan has also tolerated abusive posts in his campaign's name. For example, a law enforcement blogger makes threats against George and others in the Aurora Sentinel newspaper. And there are other examples of intimidation. Ethan knows that this is illegal and has not countered the statements. 

 

If you are asking if this guy is for real, the answer obviously is no.  I am glad George Brauchler has taken the high road in this election. 

Gina
Gina

             Feldman has received endorsements from well over one hundred present and past prosecutors in Colorado, including this district’s former District Attorney Bob Gallagher, a staunch Republican. Republican Sheriff Grayson Robinson has also crossed party lines to endorse Ethan Feldman as the most qualified man for the job.  Neither of the elected district attorneys that employed Brauchler from Jefferson County has endorsed him. In fact one of them, Dave Thomas has endorsed Ethan Feldman. Furthermore, the current Jefferson County district attorney who employed Brauchler, Scott Storey, has declined to endorse Brauchler.

 

Gina
Gina

 18th Judicial District DA Race 

Gina part 1

            Most people expect and tolerate political hype during political races. The one electoral race that should not tolerate a candidate’s embellishing or misrepresenting one’s qualifications is the election for the most powerful position in the district’s criminal justice system, the District Attorney.

 

             To be an effective and just district attorney, the candidate must be a licensed attorney, have a thorough understanding of State criminal law, extensive trial experience in State courts, and have the highest standards of ethics. The District Attorney enforces the State’s criminal laws while at the same time doing justice.  This requires leading and managing teams of trial lawyers, police officers, investigators and support staff through the intricacies of search and arrest warrants, filing cases, investigation, complex motion practices and jury trials in very serious cases such as homicides, assaults, sex assaults, and child abuse. These trials are so complex that they require extensive knowledge of the State’s laws and rules of evidence pertaining to child hearsay, sanity, discovery, prior bad acts, and jury selection. The DA must also have a working relationship with not only law enforcement but the bench and defense counsel as well. The District Attorney must have this extensive experience to wisely and justly use his power. 

 

            So politics should play a subservient role in the election of the most qualified District Attorney.  The primary factors are a candidate’s proven knowledge, experience, leadership, and integrity.

 

            The legal community in the metro-Denver area has raised concerns about the DA’s race in the 18th Judicial District, which encompasses Arapahoe County including nearly all of the highly urbanized City of Aurora, as well as the more conservative Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln counties. It is the largest district by population in the state and is one of the most active, and currently is charged with prosecuting the case where a gunman entered a midnight movie in Aurora, killing 12 and injuring 58. The complexity of this case alone is unsurpassed due to the numbers of victims, sanity issues, doctor /patient privilege issues, violation of court orders, the full range of potential death penalty laws.

 

            The legal community’s concerns arise from the widely disparate legal backgrounds of the two candidates. People who work in the criminal justice system are concerned that the electorate may vote the straight party ticket, with very little understanding of the differences in qualifications of the two candidates.

 

Ethan Feldman, the Democrat, has extensive trial experience in this jurisdiction as the Chief Deputy DA for major crimes, as a defense lawyer and as a judge for twenty years. Looking solely at felony cases, Feldman as a prosecutor tried 40 felony jury trials. 11 of those forty felony jury trials were murder trials plus one sanity jury trial on a murder. Among his many felony jury trials as a private attorney, Feldman defended a death penalty case to a jury.  As a judge in this district, specifically Arapahoe, Feldman presided over some 15,000-felony cases and 250 jury trials (misdemeanors and felonies).

 

 

Gina
Gina

part 2 

    George Brauchler, a Republican in this predominately Republican district, has far less experience. Brauchler has claimed that he did eight homicide trials. Until recently, Brauchler had on his website the following:

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ‚ÄúFrom DUIs to murder, I have successfully taken to trial challenging cases such as the solicitation for murder of a sheriff‚Äôs deputy by a jail inmate, a homicide committed by a fake naturopathic doctor, the murder of a captured detainee by a U.S. soldier, the felony cases from the Columbine tragedy and many others.‚ÄĚ http://www.georgeforda.com/issues.

 

As Westword pointed out, only one of these four cases actually went to trial. The killing of detainee case, a military prosecution, did not go to trial.  The soldier pled guilty without trial.  This error on his website was pointed out to Brauchler at a debate but it took him nearly a month to correct his website.

 

 Jefferson county district attorney records and court records reflect Brauchler only tried one homicide. Brauchler has never tried a death penalty case. Jefferson county district attorney records also show that Brauchler was employed as a deputy district attorney for nine years despite Brauchler’s claim of eleven years. It should be noted that Brauchler was never promoted above a deputy district attorney in Jefferson County despite nine years as a deputy district attorney.

 

    Brauchler relies heavily on his military experience as a reserve officer with the Judge Advocate General (JAG) branch of the Army. First, Military trials are vastly different than State court jury trials. The most glaring difference being a Military jury is picked by commanding officers and is largely comprised of military officers.  Secondly, I admire anyone who serves in the Armed Forces. However I do not believe military service should be exploited for political gain, especially in a misleading manner.  Here is an example of how he has done this.

 

Brauchler has repeatedly referred to a truly brutal murder case in Hawaii while he was a JAG reserve officer, as an example of his ability to handle death penalty cases.¬† He always describes the tragic death of a young female soldier in the most graphic of terms and then says that this why he ‚Äúpursued‚ÄĚ or ‚Äúadvocated for‚ÄĚ the death penalty.¬† In talking about this case he stated in a television interview:

 

‚ÄúIt‚Äôs not theoretical for me.¬† I know the analysis that has to go into it.¬† I know the heavy burden it places on an individual who puts their signature on a piece of paper.‚ÄĚ

 

The facts are that Brauchler did not do the trial in this case and that the death penalty was no longer an option well before the case was even set for trial. Brauchler was assigned to assist the Regular Army JAG officer who was in charge of the case at the Article 32 (civilian equivalent: preliminary hearing).¬† That ¬†JAG officer told Westword, ‚ÄúI don‚Äôt recall the command ever taking a serious look at the death penalty‚ÄĚ.¬† So when Brauchler told the television interviewer that he knows ‚Äúthe heavy burden‚ÄĚ involved in seeking the death penalty, he is exaggerating his role.¬† It was a command decision, not Brauchler‚Äôs.

 

  Brauchler’s resume is vague at best about his work history. As a reserve officer two to four weeks per year the majority of his time was spent as a traveling lecturer.  Outside of his reserve activity, the majority of his experience has also been as a lecturer, since leaving the Jefferson County DA’s office in 2006. Records at the Colorado Attorney Registration office from 1998 to present shows he registered eleven different work addresses. Brauchler has known for four years that he would run again because Chambers was term limited.   During the past four years he has not been involved in any of our jurisdiction’s many criminal justice programs, as a citizen board member or in any other capacity.  While so many in this jurisdiction, including Feldman and his wife, Nancy Feldman, have worked so hard in the trenches trying to improve our jurisdiction, Brauchler simply takes pride that he is an outsider to our criminal justice community.  If his lack of contribution is not enough, Brauchler at the same time in multiple public forums denigrates the 18th judicial bench, prosecutors and defense bar with whom he must work, if elected.  

         Putting aside political hype and rhetoric and by analyzing proven records, there is only one candidate who has the experience, leadership and integrity needed for our elected DA. That candidate is Ethan Feldman.

 

Gina 

Practicing attorney in our criminal justice system for over 24 years and throughout that time involved in multiple criminal justice programs from community corrections to problem solving courts.

 

 

Richard
Richard

I found this comment very interesting. This is a MUST READ:

 

There is much to be said when Brauchler's former boss, the current District Attorney for the 1st Judicial District, Scott Storey, will not endorse his former line deputy prosecutor. Storey is a well respected and prominent Republican.

 

The following is an excerpt from an article posted in Your Hub on Oct. 9, 2012  

 

‚ÄúThe Republican candidate, George Brauchler, claims he was a deputy district attorney in Jefferson County for 11 years.¬† A deputy DA is a line deputy, someone who handles the docket on a daily basis and tries the cases that land on that docket.¬† The elected DA in Jefferson County did not promote him and so he was never a chief deputy and 11 years is a long time to be a line deputy.¬† Chief deputies handle the most serious cases, including murder cases.¬†Usually the chief deputy has a line deputy assist him/her on murder cases.¬† Because he was not promoted to chief deputy, Brauchler was never the lead prosecutor on a murder case in Jefferson County.‚ÄĚ

 

I provide the link for the reader to ascertain if Brauchler is exaggerating his claims of prosecutorial accomplishments.

 

http://yourhub.denverpost.com/highlandsranch/da-race/Az4SEz0tDR30p6ox2P7clO-ugc-1

scott.huminski
scott.huminski

Pro-Romney Right Wing Judge Rules for Sheriff Arpaio

 

Arpaio-style Law in Future for U.S. With Romney appointments.

 

If Romney is elected, the U.S. can expect more right-wing judicial appointees like the Judge in the following link who is a passionate pro-Arpaio right-wing Judge sitting on the Arizona federal Bench.  Talk about right-wing judicial activism, this Judge has violated fundamental judicial ethical cannons in his blind campaign supportive of Arpaio cronies from the bench. 

 

This judge has single-handedly taken the ABA  Model Rules of Professional Conduct and ABA Model Code of Judicial Conduct and flushed them down the toilet.  A little too much order in this Court reminiscent of 1930s fascist tribunals.  The court papers at the link detail a campaign of a judicial home-bred terrorist …  more on the way if Romney has a say.

 

Hold on for a new era of police state terror in the U.S. with Right-Wing judicial appointees.

 

http://www.scribd.com/doc/110704206/Right-wing-Fed-Judge-violates-law-to-aid-Sheriff-Arpaio

 

http://atlanta.indymedia.org/global/pro-romney-right-wing-judge-rules-sheriff-arpaio

http://austin.indymedia.org/article/2012/10/22/pro-romney-right-wing-judge-rules-sheriff-arpaio

http://chicago.indymedia.org/node/16691

http://la.indymedia.org/news/2012/10/256592.php

http://twincities.indymedia.org/node/43125

http://neworleans.indymedia.org/news/2012/10/17196.php

http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2012/10/22/18724255.php

 

Phil
Phil

There is much to be said when Brauchler's former boss, the current District Attorney for the 1st Judicial District, Scott Storey, will not endorse his former line deputy prosecutor. Storey is a well respected and prominent Republican.

 

The following is an excerpt from an article posted in Your Hub on Oct. 9, 2012  

 

‚ÄúThe Republican candidate, George Brauchler, claims he was a deputy district attorney in Jefferson County for 11 years.¬† A deputy DA is a line deputy, someone who handles the docket on a daily basis and tries the cases that land on that docket.¬† The elected DA in Jefferson County did not promote him and so he was never a chief deputy and 11 years is a long time to be a line deputy.¬† Chief deputies handle the most serious cases, including murder cases.¬†Usually the chief deputy has a line deputy assist him/her on murder cases.¬† Because he was not promoted to chief deputy, Brauchler was never the lead prosecutor on a murder case in Jefferson County.‚ÄĚ

 

I provide the link for the reader to ascertain if Brauchler is exaggerating his claims of prosecutorial accomplishments.

 

http://yourhub.denverpost.com/highlandsranch/da-race/Az4SEz0tDR30p6ox2P7clO-ugc-1

Randy144
Randy144

What a fascinating article. It opened up my eyes to the political contrivances going on in Arapahoe County.

The people of Arapahoe County should be very worried: Feldman is endorsed by Disgraced Former District Attorney Dave Thomas and Brauchler worked for Disgraced Former District Attorney Dave Thomas.

That Feldman would seek and embrace such an endorsement is upsetting and confusing to say the least. Is he unaware of Disgraced Former D. A.  Dave Thomas's involvement in the Secret Meetings and the cover up of the Columbine lies by Jefferson County? If he is aware, why would he accept such an endorsement?

Either way he must think we are all stupid or he is pretty damn well out of touch. 

 

And Brauchler worked for Dave. What was his involvement in the widespread cover up and the secret meetings that kept the truth from the families of the murdered children?

 

I for one would like to know.

 

I for one believe the voters should be informed on this topic.

 

Is there a debate between these two politicians, uh, I mean District Attorneys?

 

There are some questions the informed citizens should be able to ask.

 

Who can we trust?

 

 

Randy Brown

 

Christen
Christen

I am a Republican and I am voting for Feldman! Party doesn't matter, we need the most qualified person and that person is Feldman. In my Republican circle I have never seen so many people crossing over and voting Dem...says a lot.

cdevarona
cdevarona

After listening to the two candidates debate, it is clear that Ethan Feldman is the candidate who has the experience, wisdom and integrity that is needed for this position. 

 

 

patricia.calhoun
patricia.calhoun moderator editortopcommenter

we'd like to publish some of these comments in our print edition, ideally with the author's full name. If that's okay, e-mail me at patricia.calhoun@westword.com.

brianweiss07
brianweiss07

From the Law Enforcement community, good riddens Chambers. And were happy to see your partner go as well. Anyone of these candidates will do so much better than what has been in office for years. God speed George.

Ryan
Ryan

I have to agree with some previous posters, either of these guys would be a huge upgrade over what is in place now.  

Sidewinder7
Sidewinder7

I agree with the Ryan!  For example:

1) Bonuses offered to staff members who reached a "quota", in the number of guilty verdicts rendered.

2) Draconian "plea bargains" which were no better, if not worse, than the sentence of the initial charge.

3) Deeming numerous chronic, but minor, offenders as "habitual criminals", thereby imposing LUDICROUS 20, 30+year sentences which should have been 1 - 2 years--MAX*.

4) Bribing key witnesses to testify and/or turn state's evidence with cars, new homes, and other "pricey" objects.

It's likely that those unfortunate victims* were mainly folks who could NOT afford a savvy defense attorney to help them navigate the horrendously complex legal system.  In reality, the term "victim", is exactly what they are, when one considers the many TRUE threats to public safety, on the streets, at this very moment! I hope those who were handed such RIDICULOUS "lock-em-up-and-throw-away=-the-key" sentences, can appeal their cases--within the next decade--that is. To win an appeal, can be a painfully slow process.  In which case, they'll be handed a sentence congruent to the crime committed. Some may even go free, due to time already served. 

Yes, I'm inclined to agree, that ANYONE, would be an improvement over the "over-zealous" D.A. who's in office at this time.  

 

 

ryanjohnsmith1013
ryanjohnsmith1013

Anyone is better than the Witch in office now.

 

Good riddance. And take your payola for convictions with you.

KrisT
KrisT

 @coreys2012 I just read some of the comments you referred to and George should be ashamed of what KoryNParker is saying! You can have your opinion but you're asking to Feldman for say something about comments when George hasn't said a thing about these truly insane posts by KoryNParker.  Your comments are crazy and I'm not proud that I am even reponding but again, couldn't resist. Also, you posted your real name on another article, I think we all went to high school together! Small world and I guess I'm sort of glad we didn't stay in touch. LOL I hope you find peace. lets move on am start moving forward. Whoever put you up to this cracks me up, such a waste of time and energy. I'm not looking at this anymore so i am not asking for a response.

lilyrosemary
lilyrosemary

 @brianweiss07 Yes, George attracts the support of disgraced cops like you, which is why you don't support the current administration - they exposed you and the two convicted cops in Glendale who passed petitions for George in the primary.  That tells you all you need to know about him - that he is supported by dishonest cops.

 
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