District Attorney Criticizes Colorado’s Public Defenders

Colorado District Attorney Martin Beeson should hand in his prosecutor’s badge and tear up his bar card. It’s like he was asleep in Con Law class during law school. Perhaps he should join the Tea Party with Christine O’Donnell to burn up the Constitution.

According to the Aspen Daily News, District Attorney Martin Beeson said that he stands by recent comments he made in October 2010 criticizing public defenders, as lawyers throughout Colorado condemned his statements.

These comments stem from a meeting he had recently with Pitkin County commissioners concerning his office’s 2011 budget. Beeson criticized local public defenders for some overzealous courtroom tactics, accusing them of unethical behavior and abuse of the system, wasting taxpayer resources, filing meritless motions clogging courtrooms, and unnecessarily using up tremendous resources at taxpayers’ expense.

Beeson told the Aspen Daily News, “Public defenders are not defenders of the public. They are not serving the public good. They are taxpayer-funded attorneys for criminals.” According to the News, he said that Public Defenders “are government-funded defense attorneys and should be called just that, government-funded defense attorneys.”

Who is this guy? He is clearly not anyone who gives a damn about equal justice for all. I guess he skipped over the part of the Constitution that imposes due process. Remember that?  Thou shall not be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law?  I guess he expects the accused to just lie down and roll over.

Talk Left commentator, Jeralyn stated in an article “The Worst Prosecutor Comment of the Week” of October 22, 2010, states that “… Someone needs to clue Beeson in to the purpose of the Bill of Rights… The framers of the Constitution understood mistakes happen, and it is better that a guilty person go free than an innocent person be convicted.”


I have to appreciate the comments of my friend and colleague, Tina Fang for sticking up for her office, who has to deal with this clown on a daily basis. According to the News, she said his characterization of their work “demonstrates why, now more than ever, the public defender’s office must heed its mission to ensure that indigent people accused of crimes in this valley are provided the highest and most zealous level of representation money can’t buy.”

The head of the Colorado Public Defenders System, Defender Douglas K. Wilson, said via e-mail: “It is sad, and scary that Mr. Beeson does not believe in the same principles.”

Doug Wilson went on record with the News criticizing Beeson.  “The men and women that work for the [state public defender] work for the poor with little financial reward because they believe in the protections set forth in the Constitution by our founding fathers.”

I agree! What kind of archaic attitude do you need to have to believe that the citizens of your country, state, or county are not entitled to due process and the right to be innocent until proven guilty; or that the government better have enough evidence to convict you beyond all reasonable doubt? It is the DA’s obligation to prove beyond a reasonable doubt to guarantee the protection of the innocent.


In retaliation to the report published in the Aspen Daily News, Martin Beeson refused to apologize for his statements about the public defenders, claiming that he was misquoted, and backed up his initial statement with a Guest Opinion article ‘The Truth Hurts’ which was published in The Aspen Times on November 1, 2010. Beeson writes “The presumption of innocence and the right to counsel are simply smoke screens thrown up by those who have a vested and pecuniary interest in protecting their dirty little secret. …It is the prosecutor who represents you, the people. It is the defense attorney who represents the interests of the perpetrator who has forever devastated the life of the victim… …The truth is that prosecutors and law enforcement officers live with the pain of victims of crime. Defense attorneys do not.  …the only apologies needed are from those defense attorneys who routinely re-victimize the good and decent people of our communities who have suffered devastating and life-altering experiences at the hands of their clients.”


Tom Silverman fired back at Beeson, stating that “Martin’s latest responses are so misguided, contradictory, and poorly grounded in law or fact that it begs for a response.”

“I remember cases in which the defense ‘frustrated’ the DA’s efforts to convict the innocent. The literal statement of the DA characterizes these people as ‘criminals’.”

“… Every warrantless arrest is presumed illegal. Most arrests are warrantless. Every statement to the police is subject to scrutiny regarding its voluntariness and compliance with constitutional warnings. Every case involves the obligation of the prosecution to provide exculpatory evidence, reports, and statements of witnesses to the defense. … Ethical conduct by the defense is to ensure the defendant’s rights are provided and protected. Failure to file motions is, in my opinion, a bigger problem than the filing of frivolous ones. Cynically believing that pecuniary interest of attorneys is the issue shows a fundamental misunderstanding of defense motives.”


Beeson’s unremitting statements are affirmation that his interests are not in support of due process of law, but more likely politically motivated tactics to instill fear in the public, as a push to move his political aspirations forward.


2 responses to “District Attorney Criticizes Colorado’s Public Defenders

  • Collin County Criminal Defense Attorney

    Given that we’re speaking about things within the region of District Attorney Criticizes Colorado’s Public Defenders ContiFazz, A criminal defense lawyer is an integral part of any criminal case procedure. He is a qualified defense attorney to represent individuals charged of any criminal case. He is responsible to ensure that the accused gets the right treatment from law.

  • Gloria Wilde

    The entire legal system in this country is stacked in favor of the prosecution. Did you ever hear of a private prosecutor? A prosecutor who does pro bono work? No, because they are all paid by the State. Try calling the police department or the sheriff’s office and ask if they will please do an investigation for the defense of someone charged with a crime , or if they will do a crime scene analysis for anyone in custody. Of course they won’t. If you offer to pay, you’d be arrested for bribery. Same thing with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. Call CBI and see if they will please do crime scene DNA testing for the defense of someone in custody who thinks/knows they’re not guilty and needs proof. The answer is NO. CBI works for the prosecution. For any testing or investigation other than what’s approved by the DA to support the prosecution’s case, you’ll have to convince a judge to order it done–same thing goes just to have the evidence stored for more than the minimum time allowed, just in case you might find the money for private testing later: no dice. If you’re indigent (which, if you aren’t already, you will be soon if you’re in jail for awhile), the State allows your public defender limited funds for investigation and testing, IF you get past a plea bargain, which most defendants dare not do. (Check the statistics: more than 90% of crimnal cases don’t go to trial; guilty or not most defendants accept the terms of a guilty plea. If everybody went to trial, the judicial system would implode. As things stand, no wonder the prison system is exploding.) Say you’re the indigent defendant, but your family has the funds to hire a private criminal defense attorney: be prepared to pay not only their fees, but also the cost of private investigators at $20 per hour and up, as well as any DNA testing or chemical testing at $400 per sample–oh and be sure the Chain of Custody of Evidence is not broken, or whatever you pay, the results will be useless: you can’t just have your mom go get that packet of blood out of Evidence and send it off to a lab; following protocol costs money, too. And don’t forget about bailbond! Nobody gets the bondsman’s premium (% down) back even if you show up in court on schedule and don’t violate the terms of the bond. Don’t forget, even if no one presses charges, if the DA decides there’s a case against you, it’s the State versus You, and State money is laid on the bet that you’re guilty, not innocent. What’s a Public Defender to do, except damp down the fires of collateral damage? And hope that at least occasionally an innocent, indigent convict will have enough courage, stamina, and facts (plus a diligent enough PD) to petition for post-conviction relief, that a judge will grant the petition to withdraw the guilty plea, a trial will be held, and the DA will shoulder the burden of proof instead of merely juggling the assumption of guilt for a change.

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