DA’s Past and Present

District Attorneys Past and Present

Stanley L. Garnett (1956-Living)

Twentieth Judicial District, 2009-Present
Democrat

District Attorney Stanley L. Garnett was sworn into office on January 13, 2009.

Stanley L. Garnett is a long-time Boulder resident. He graduated from Fairview High School in 1974 and received his Juris Doctor from the University of Colorado in 1982. From 1982 to 1986, he worked as a Deputy District Attorney in the Denver District Attorney’s Office.

He was a trial lawyer for 22 years at the firm Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber and Schreck, specializing in complex litigation at the state and federal levels. He has practiced before the United States Supreme Court, the 10th and 11th Circuit Courts of Appeal, the Colorado Appellate Courts, and in state and federal trial courts across the United States, receiving a number of distinctions from the legal community. He also served two terms on the Boulder Valley School Board.

He was elected District Attorney for the Twentieth Judicial District in November, 2008. Since being elected, he has worked to restructure the District Attorney’s Office while also significantly increasing the number of jury trials prosecuted by the office, expanding the DA Investigative Unit, and strengthening the District Attorney’s relationships with local and state law enforcement.

He has also emphasized proactive efforts to prevent crime through education of vulnerable populations, seniors, persons with disabilities and the immigrant community.

He is president of the Colorado District Attorneys Council and Board member of the National District Attorneys Association.

Mary Lacy

Photo: Courtesy of District Attorney’s Office

Mary Lacy (1950-Living)

Twentieth Judicial District, 2001-2009
Democrat

Mary Lacy graduated with honors from the University of Iowa College of Law. She began her career as a teacher for children with disabilities. During her early career she also spent five years as a trust officer with Dubuque Bank and Trust in Dubuque, Iowa.

Lacy served as Boulder County’s District Attorney from 2001–2009. Prior to 2001, she spent 10 years as Chief of the Sexual Assault Unit in the District Attorney’s Office where she was instrumental in strengthening the prosecution of sexual assault cases, creating both the Sex Assault Unit and the Sex Assault Review Team. Lacy prosecuted thousands of county court, juvenile and felony cases throughout her 24 years in the Boulder office.

Lacy has been involved in nonprofit organizations in Boulder County for over two decades. She co-founded Blue Sky Bridge, a child and family advocacy center in Boulder, and has served on the Board of Directors for Chestor House, YWCA, Blue Sky Bridge and the Aging Services Foundation.

Lacy has received numerous awards for her contributions to justice and community issues in the county and the state. She is currently in private practice in Boulder.

Alexander M Hunter

Photo: Carnegie Branch Library for Local History, Boulder CO

Alexander M. Hunter (1936-Living)

Twentieth Judicial District, 1973-2001
Democrat

Alexander M. Hunter was District Attorney for more than a quarter century, longer than any of his predecessors. He was the face of law enforcement in Boulder County from 1973–2001, turbulent years filled with tremendous change.

During his long tenure as District Attorney, Hunter and his staff successfully prosecuted a number of high-profile homicide cases. Further, prosecutions of domestic abuse and sexual assault cases were strengthened during his time in office.

Hunter created the Consumer Protection Unit in the District Attorney’s Office, which provided a vehicle to investigate, mediate and, when necessary, prosecute consumer fraud.

Alex Hunter was also a strong supporter of victims’ rights. One of his most innovative accomplishments was the creation of the Victim Witness Unit, the first unit of its kind in Colorado and one of the first in the nation. Victim/Witness provides crime victims with advocates who offer emotional support and information about their cases, and help guide them through the court process.

Photo: Carnegie Branch Library for Local History, Boulder CO

STANLEY F. JOHNSON (1927 – 2016)

Twentieth Judicial District, 1969 – 1973
Republican

Pueblo native Stanley F. Johnson served in the Navy during World War II. He was a special agent with the FBI from 1950 to 1955, and he graduated from the University of Colorado law school in 1958. Meanwhile – during the Cold War – he directed Boulder’s city and county Civil Defense Agency.

When Joseph Dolan was District Attorney, Johnson was his deputy.

One of Johnson’s biggest challenges as District Attorney involved disturbances by the Students for a Democratic Society during a speech in March of 1969 by S. I. Hayakawa at the University of Colorado. Johnson also dealt with anti-war riots and increasing drug problems.

In addition to his private law practice, Johnson worked as an announcer for the Pow Wow rodeos. He later served in the Colorado State Legislature prior to retiring in Greeley.

Rex H Scott

Photo: Carnegie Branch Library for Local History, Boulder CO

REX H. SCOTT (1921 – 1986)

Twentieth Judicial District, 1965 – 1969
Democrat

Rex H. Scott received a Purple Heart for his service in the Navy during World War II. In 1950, he moved to Boulder and earned a law degree from the University of Colorado.

Scott told a newspaper reporter at the time that he was a “poor but honest, young, struggling attorney” and proposed to “give it a try.” Beginning in 1952, Scott served as a Boulder municipal judge.

In 1965, when Scott took the office of District Attorney, Colorado had been reorganized into twenty-two districts, and Boulder County, alone, became the Twentieth Judicial District.

Some of the cases Scott presided over included Joan Brown, arrested in 1965 for the murder of American Nazi Party member James Pearson; and Joseph Morse, arrested in 1966 for the murder of University of Colorado student Elaura Jaquette.

In 1970, Scott was appointed District Court Judge and for the next twelve years he presided over nearly 250 criminal trials. At the end of his career, he told another reporter, “I walk out of the courtroom, go home, and sleep well because I’ve come to think that I’ve done the right thing.”

Joseph J Dolan

Photo: Carnegie Branch Library for Local History, Boulder CO

JOSEPH J. DOLAN (1918 – 1993)

Eighth Judicial District, 1961 – 1965
Republican

Joseph J. Dolan, a Boulder native and son of attorney Frank F. Dolan, served as a naval aviator in the South Pacific during World War II. Then, in 1951, he earned a law degree from the University of Colorado. He was in partnership with his father in the law firm of Dolan and Dolan and was Deputy District Attorney for eight years under Marc E.H. Smith.

During his election campaign, Dolan told a newspaper reporter that he would “conduct the office in a fair and impartial manner, see that the office is run in a professional and honorable way, and be a vigorous prosecutor but mindful of the rights of others.”

When Dolan took office as District Attorney, he named three Boulder County deputies: John R. Mack, Lawrence B. Robinson, and Lindsey R. Wingfield. He also appointed Karl R. Ahlborn of Greeley as Assistant District Attorney for the entire Eighth District which still comprised Boulder, Weld, Larimer, and Jackson counties.

In 1961, Dolan and his father merged law firms with Boulder attorneys Neil King and Richard Bryans.

Marc E smith

Photo: Courtesy Marc E.H. Smith III

MARC E. H. SMITH (1906 – 1986)

Eighth Judicial District, 1949 – 1961
Republican

Greeley native Marc E.H. Smith graduated from the University of Colorado law school in 1929. He set up his practice in his home town and spent twenty-three months during World War II working in Burma and India as a member of the U.S. Army’s criminal investigation division.

Except for his years overseas, Smith served as Deputy District Attorney under Hatfield Chilson. Smith was the son of Judge Elbert C. Smith, who had been a law partner of former District Attorney James E. Garrigues.

Smith’s election to his first term coincided with Joe Sam Walker’s trial in the murder of Theresa Foster, as well as with Harry S. Truman’s upset of Thomas E. Dewey in the U.S. presidential election in 1948.

During Smith’s second election campaign, the Greeley Daily Tribune stated that he “combined youth with a long apprenticeship.” In 1955, Smith urged mandatory blood alcohol tests for drivers involved in automobile accidents.

He is buried in the Linn Grove Cemetery, in Greeley.

OLIN HATFIELD CHILSON (1903 – 1991)

Olin H Chilson

Photo: Carnegie Branch Library for Local History, Boulder, CO

Eighth Judicial District, 1941 – 1949
Republican

In 1927, when Olin Hatfield “Chilly” Chilson graduated from the University of Colorado law school, his classmates selected him as Canebearer. He had also been a star quarterback and the captain of the university’s football, basketball, and baseball teams.

From 1928 to 1938, Chilson practiced law in Loveland with former Eighth Judicial District Attorney Ab H. Romans. Chilson then continued his own practice and was active in civic affairs prior to serving as District Attorney.

After Chilson completed two four-year terms as District Attorney, his successor, Marc E.H. Smith, named him special prosecutor at the trial of Joe Sam Walker, who was convicted in the murder of University of Colorado student Theresa Foster.

Chilson continued his private law practice until 1956 when U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower appointed him Undersecretary of the Interior. Following this, Chilson held a lifetime post as a Federal District Judge.

Herbert M Baker

Photo: City of Greeley Museums, Permanent Collection (Greeley Tribune)

HERBERT M. BAKER (1879 – 1958)

Eighth Judicial District, 1933 – 1941
Democrat

Herbert M. Baker, a Colorado native, was admitted to the bar in 1908 and began his law practice in his home town of Greeley. He served as a Weld County judge from 1913 to 1921 before moving his practice to Loveland and then to Longmont.

In 1916, in a published letter to voters, Baker claimed to have tried more bootlegging cases than any other judge in Colorado and, in one case alone, he ordered the destruction of 12,000 pints of whiskey.

Baker was well-known for the December 1936 trial of a former Greeley police chief, acquitted in the murder of rancher Ray Butler.

In his later years, Baker spent many of his summers at Glen Haven, between Loveland and Estes Park. In addition practicing law, he was an essayist and poet. According to the writer of his obituary, “His articles and poems reflected his keen sense of justice and humor.”

Baker retired in Longmont where he died and was cremated.

Ab H Romans

Photo: City of Greeley Museums, Permanent Collection (Greeley Tribune)

AB H. ROMANS (1875 – 1938)

Eighth Judicial District, 1925 – 1933
Republican

Ab H. Romans, a veteran of the Spanish-American War, received his law degree from the University of Colorado in 1903. He practiced in Denver for a year, then moved to Loveland where he set up a general law practice and became city attorney. He also was an attorney for various ditch companies and a member of the school board.

During the election of 1924, the editor of the Boulder News-Herald agreed that both Romans and his Democratic opponent held key district attorney qualifications – “integrity, ability, experience, and personality.” The Boulder newspaper, however, endorsed Romans’ rival, Greeley resident Worth Allen.

The News-Herald’s editor called Romans a man of “scrupulous honesty.” The editor stated that he was “not a member of the Ku Klux Klan” but gave his opinion that Romans lacked courtroom experience. Nevertheless, voters in Larimer, Weld, and Jackson counties – the remainder of the Eighth Judicial District – ensured his election.

From 1928 to 1938, Romans shared his law practice with Hatfield Chilson, who would become District Attorney in 1941.

Louis B Reed

Photo: Courtesy of the Reed family and believed to be Louis B. Reed.

LOUIS B. REED (1874 – 1952)

Eighth Judicial District, 1921 – 1925
Republican

After Louis B. Reed earned his law degree at the University of Wisconsin, he moved to Colorado where he practiced law, first in Eaton and then in Greeley.

Boulder’s longest unsolved murder occurred in 1923 during Reed’s term as District Attorney. At the height of the bootlegging era, Boulder Police Officer Elmer Cobb was killed in the line of duty by an unknown gunman, allegedly hired by none other than Boulder Police Chief Claude Head. Reed and his lead investigator questioned witnesses in rented rooms on separate floors of the Hotel Boulderado.

Reed told a newspaper reporter that Boulder was “a hell-hole of protected vice, graft, and crime,” and he stated that Cobb was killed because he knew too much. “There were men in Boulder who wanted to get him out of the way, and we believe they did,” he said––before dismissing the case for lack of evidence.

Reed continued his law practice in Greeley. In 1938, he retired to California and is buried, among notables and celebrities, in the Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale.

Russell W Fleming

Photo: Carnegie Branch Library for Local History, Boulder, CO

RUSSELL W. FLEMING (1879 – 1923)

Eighth Judicial District, 1915 – 1921
Democrat

Russell W. Fleming began his law practice in 1898 when he was admitted to the bar in his native state of Georgia. In 1904, he moved to Colorado to improve his health and set up practice in Fort Collins, specializing in irrigation law.

In 1915, Fleming was appointed to serve out George A. Carlson’s term as District Attorney. Fleming ran on his own in 1916, was elected, and served through 1921. In June of that year, he convicted Alex Miller, a deaf mute who could neither read nor write, of the murder of six members of the Schank family at their home in Platteville.

Fleming declined to run for re-election, but in 1922 he was elected Colorado Attorney General to serve with incoming Governor William E. Sweet.

After a few months in office, however, Fleming, age forty-four, died of blood poisoning. His colleagues called him “one of the best attorneys in Colorado,” adding that “He gave his attitude irrespective of party politics and without fear or favor.”

GEORGE A. CARLSON (1876 – 1926)

George A Carlson

Photo: Library of Congress

Eighth Judicial District, 1909 – 1915
George A. Carlson grew up in Denver and earned his law degree from the University of Colorado in 1904. He opened his first law practice in Lewiston, Idaho, and a year later relocated to Fort Collins, Colorado. He served as Deputy District Attorney under George H. Van Horn.

In 1909, after Carlson took office as District Attorney, his first move, according to the Rocky Mountain News, was “to strike with smashing force at the criminal and law-breaking element of Fort Collins.” In his first twenty-three days in office and with the assistance of the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office, he took in $8,000 in fines and turned up fifty-eight guilty pleas. He also distinguished himself in the prosecution of two Weld County Commissioners for alleged fraud in the construction of a concrete bridge across the Platte River.

Of Carlson’s years as District Attorney, one of his biographers wrote: “He is studious, careful and possessed of a fair, judicial mind; his clients are dealt with in a spirit of fairness and courtesy, and he is respected by members of the bar.”

Carlson was elected Governor of Colorado 1914 and took office in January, 1915. In 1916, he signed into law a prohibition bill, making Colorado a dry state. After his two-year term, he practiced law in Denver. He is buried in Linn Grove Cemetery, in Greeley.

George H Van Horn

Photo: City of Greeley Museums, Permanent Collection (Greeley Tribune)

GEORGE H. VAN HORN (1870 – 1948)

Eighth Judicial District, 1905 – 1909
Republican

Pennsylvania native George H. Van Horn moved to Colorado in 1896 and enrolled in the State Normal School in Greeley. He obtained his law degree at the University of Indiana and returned to Colorado where he was admitted to the bar in 1900.

Van Horn practiced law in Loveland and continued to reside there as District Attorney of the Eighth Judicial District which, at the time, included Boulder, Larimer, Weld, and Adams counties. He also represented Larimer County in the Colorado State Legislature.

Afterwards Van Horn moved his law practice to Walden, the county seat of Jackson County, where he also ranched for several years. After Jackson County’s formation in 1909 it was added to the Eighth Judicial District, and Adams County moved to the First.

In 1921, when Louis B. Reed took office as District Attorney, he appointed Van Horn as his deputy for Jackson County. A few years later, Van Horn moved to Greeley to work as deputy for District Attorney Ab Romans. Van Horn was elected Weld County Judge in 1928 and served through 1932. After his term of office expired, he retired from law practice and moved to Vale, Oregon, where he owned and operated a farm.

Guy D Duncan

Photo: Carnegie Branch Library for Local History, Boulder Historical Society Collection

GUY D. DUNCAN (1866 – 1950)

Eighth Judicial District, 1901 – 1905
People’s Party

Born east of Longmont, in Weld County, Guy D. Duncan was the first Colorado native to serve Boulder County as District Attorney. In 1885, he graduated from the University of Colorado and then attended the University of Michigan where he obtained his law degree in 1891.

Duncan was admitted to the bar in 1892 and returned to Boulder where he set up a general law practice. Beginning in 1895, he served as Deputy District Attorney under Adam C. Patton.

In 1900, when Duncan ran for District Attorney of the Eighth Judicial District, the Greeley Tribune stated: “We feel safe in making the statement that Mr. Duncan does not keep a private jug of whiskey in his office, that he does not invite men to his office to drink with him intending thus to influence their votes, and that he has left no unpaid old liquor bills to come up now at this day to haunt him in his candidacy.”

Duncan, seated on the right, was photographed in Boulder during an 1899 meeting of the Chautauqua Board of Directors.

Adam C Patton

Photo: Carnegie Branch Library for Local History, Boulder Historical Society Collection

ADAM C. PATTON (1860 – 1911)

Eighth Judicial District, 1895 – 1901
People’s Party

In 1897, when Greeley resident Adam C. Patton ran for re-election as District Attorney, the Greeley Tribune stated, “No man can say that Mr. Patton has played poker one night and prosecuted offenders for gambling the next day.”

One of Patton’s first Boulder County cases was the J.J. Ritchey murder trial in which the defendant fatally shot B.E. Rhodes – underground and with no witnesses – in the Poorman gold mine.

After Patton completed his second three-year term, he set up his law practice in Boulder, specializing in irrigation and corporation law. Prominent in his field, he was chosen the first president of the Boulder County Bar Association which was founded in 1907, the same year that Boulder voters prohibited the sale of alcoholic beverages within the city limits.

Patton died of heart failure at the age of fifty-one and is buried in Boulder’s Green Mountain Cemetery. On the day of his funeral, his colleagues gathered in the district courtroom in the Boulder County Courthouse and walked together to the family’s home at 933 Mapleton Avenue. The writer of Patton’s obituary said he had “a genial presence and a ready wit.”

Seated in the center with a dark vest, Patton was photographed with the “Boulder County Lawyers Club.”

James E Garrigues

Photo: Carnegie Branch Library for Local History, Boulder Historical Society Collection

JAMES E. GARRIGUES (1852 – 1946)

Eighth Judicial District, 1889 – 1895
Republican

Former school teacher and principal James E. Garrigues began his term as District Attorney in 1889. The Greeley resident also practiced law with Judge Elbert C. Smith, father of Marc E.H. Smith, who would become District Attorney in 1949.

Garrigues was elected to his second term in 1891. At the time, Morgan County was added to the Eighth Judicial District, and Logan and Washington counties were removed.

In 1903, Garrigues was appointed District Court Judge for the Eighth Judicial District. A few years later, during jury selection, he was quoted by a newspaper reporter as stating: “You must understand, sir, that all men are equal before the law regardless of race, creed, or business. All men – whether white, black, or red, rich or poor, merchant, banker, laborer, preacher, or saloon keeper – all are equal before the law.”

In 1910, Garrigues was elected to the Colorado Supreme Court where he served as its Chief Justice from 1919 to 1921. He is buried in Fairmount Cemetery in Denver.

Sylvester S Downer

Photo: Carnegie Branch Library for Local History, Boulder, CO

SYLVESTER S. DOWNER (1853 – 1922)

First Judicial District, 1886 – 1887; Eighth Judicial District 1887 – 1889
Republican

Ohio native Sylvester S. Downer came to Colorado, in failing health, in the spring of 1873. He must have recovered quickly as in September of that year, he guided English author Isabella Bird from Longmont to the summit of Longs Peak.

Downer then moved to New York where he graduated, in 1876, from Columbia Law School. Afterwards, he returned to Colorado, settled in Boulder, and practiced law with Platt Rogers. From 1881 through 1885, he served as Boulder County Judge. In 1886, he began his term as District Attorney in the First Judicial District.

In 1887, the Colorado State Legislature created the Eighth Judicial District, then comprised of Boulder, Larimer, Weld, and two brand new counties – Logan and Washington – and Downer ran for re-election. The court of the Eighth Judicial District moved from county to county, but in Boulder it commenced on the first Monday in February and on the first Monday in September.

In 1904, Downer was a delegate from Colorado to the Republican National Convention in Chicago, resulting in the second term of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt.

Downer became known throughout the West as a prominent mining attorney. In his later years, he practiced law in Nevada and California. He and his family are buried in Boulder’s Columbia Cemetery.

James McDowell Livesay

Photo: Gravestone, Fairmount Cemetery, Denver, Colorado

JAMES McDOWELL LIVESAY (1847 – 1930)

First Judicial District, 1881 – 1885
Republican

As was Harper M. Orahood, James M. Livesay was an attorney from Central City. He opened his law office in 1876 and practiced with both Edward O. Wolcott and Henry M. Teller.

Livesay was also a member of the Colorado Legislature and took over Orahood’s term as District Attorney in 1881. That same year, Colorado’s previous four judicial districts were divided into seven. Boulder remained in the First Judicial District, which included Boulder, Clear Creek, Gilpin, Grand, Jefferson, and Routt counties. Livesay won a three-year term in the election of 1882.

According to his obituary, Livesay’s first case as District Attorney was “the prosecution of a band of Indian horse thieves that had made life miserable for ranchers in Routt County.” He also prosecuted the Barney Day murder case, which stemmed from the outgrowth of a political feud that resulted in the death of several men.

During the Cripple Creek gold strike, Livesay was the attorney for the Cripple Creek Mine Owners and Operators. Afterwards, he was engaged in private practice. He died in Denver and is buried in Fairmount Cemetery.

In Wilbur Fiske Stone’s History of Colorado (1919), the author wrote of Livesay, “He is unassuming and decries sensationalism, notoriety, and fanaticism.”

Harper M Orahood

Photo: History of Clear Creek & Boulder Valleys, Colorado, by O.L. Baskin & Co. (1880)

HARPER M. ORAHOOD (1841 – 1915)

First Judicial District 1878 – 1881
Republican

Harper M. Orahood settled in Black Hawk in 1860 and became the milling town’s postmaster and treasurer. He also served as Gilpin County’s Clerk and Recorder, and he fought at Sand Creek as part of the first company of militia mustered into service in Colorado Territory.

In 1873, Orahood was admitted to the bar and practiced in the Central City office of Henry M. & Willard Teller. He became city attorney of Central City and Deputy District Attorney under Edward Oliver Wolcott. He succeeded Wolcott to the position of District Attorney, in 1878. That same year, Orahood was elected District Attorney for an additional three-year term, but he resigned part way through, in 1881, to become director of School District No. 1 in Denver.

Orahood’s biographer, in the Portrait & Biographical Record of Denver and Vicinity, called him “a man of many winning traits – liberal, large-hearted, enterprising and approachable,” adding that he had “won a deserved position of prominence among the people of the state.”

He is buried in Denver’s Fairmount Cemetery next to his family’s impressive obelisk.

Edward O Wolcott

Photo: History of the State of Colorado, by Frank Hall (1889)

EDWARD OLIVER WOLCOTT (1848 – 1905)

First Judicial District, 1877 – 1878
Republican

When Colorado was granted statehood in 1876, it was divided into four judicial districts. Boulder County was in the First Judicial District – comprised of Boulder, Clear Creek, Gilpin, Grand, Jefferson, and Summit counties – and elected Georgetown resident Edward Oliver Wolcott as its first District Attorney. He took office in 1877 but resigned in 1878 when he was elected to the Colorado Senate.

During his two years as District Attorney, Wolcott, who was said to have had “a magnetic influence before a jury,” sent four men to the Colorado State Penitentiary for life.

Of Wolcott’s oratory abilities, a colleague at the time wrote: “He was practically irresistible. His method of conducting a prosecution was eminently fair. He was most resourceful, his mentality acute, and his instant grasp of a legal proposition was little short of genius.”

In 1889, Wolcott was elected to the U.S. Senate where he served two four-year terms. He died in Monte Carlo, Monaco, and was cremated. His ashes were interred in the Woodland Cemetery, Bronx, New York.

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