December 12, 2019 — The District Attorney has requested that the Court appoint a Special Prosecutor in the pending DUI case against Ouray County Sheriff Lance Fitzgerald. The Motion was filed today, December 12, 2019.
A District Attorney can request that a Special Prosecutor be appointed in any case, and it is not appropriate to publicly comment about the reasons for such a request. As a general matter, a DA has full authority to prosecute law enforcement officers acting within the District Attorney’s jurisdiction and doing so does not create a conflict of interest. However, in any case, one involving law enforcement or lay defendants, circumstances may exist which make it advisable for a District Attorney to seek a Special Prosecutor. Such circumstances can include knowledge of information or the existence of relationships that might affect a prosecutor’s “duty of fairness and neutrality.”
The District Attorney’s Office does not make the decision to seek a Special Prosecutor lightly, and the District Attorney consulted others prior to making this decision. The most important consideration must be adherence to the highest standards of ethical conduct and adopting a course of action that assures the community that public officials will be prosecuted fully consistent with the duty of fairness and neutrality practiced by Colorado prosecutors.
Any criminal charge against a defendant is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until or unless proven guilty.