Monday, May 30, 2011

Colorado state rep to moonlight as deputy district attorney

Posted By on Mon, May 30, 2011 at 4:50 PM

Waller and May at an MMJ debate in 2010.

Nothing like a little "Your Honor" with your summer vacation, or so thinks Colorado Springs state Rep. Mark Waller, who has taken a part-time job with the Fourth Judicial District between legislative sessions.

This wouldn't be the first time that Waller has worked with District Attorney Dan May, and indeed, it was medical marijuana advocates concerned that the pair had teamed up to prosecute MMJ cases that brought the move to our attention.

However, nothing to fear here, says the former Pueblo prosecutor.

"What we’re doing is, I’m working in misdemeanor court for about a month — so, you know, DUIs, domestic violence, things like that," Waller says, speaking by phone from San Diego. "So there might be a medical marijuana case come up that way, but the plan is that I’m probably going to be doing felony filings; they just wanted me to get a little bit of a refresher in county court in first."

So how did this come about?

"Back before the session started, I ran into Dan May somewhere and I started talking to him about it, and he said, ‘You know, that sounds like a great idea,'" Waller says. "We just sort of started thinking about it and just finally worked out the details on it last week."

While not blatant, the move does seem a little odd at first: a state legislator enforcing the laws he helped create? So we contacted Colorado Ethics Watch and Colorado Common Cause for comment, but so far have heard nothing back. (We'll update this post if we do.)

In any case, it's a concern that Waller is sensitive to.

"We called the Legislative Council and asked for advice on that," he says. "There is another legislator who is currently working at the attorney general’s office, as well, in a similar sort of capacity. So, no, we don’t believe there is a conflict at all."

In the end, Waller says he just hopes the job helps keep him on the ball.

"Understand, this isn’t any sort of issue related to trying to go after one set of cases or another, at all: This is just simply an opportunity to make sure my skill set stays sharp," Waller says. "It will enable me to do a better job when working on criminal-justice-related legislation.

"I’m excited about it, but, you know, it’s been a long time since I’ve prosecuted criminal cases. I wanna make sure I’m good at it."

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