DENVER – Neither Colorado Attorney General John Suthers nor his Democratic challenger Stan Garnett want to legalize marijuana in Colorado, although Suthers said in a Tuesday debate that he’d rather legalize it than keep the current system for medical marijuana patients and caregivers.
“I wouldn’t support legalization of marijuana, but I would prefer legalization to the hypocrisy we’re in now,” Suthers said.
The Republican incumbent also believes most municipalities would choose to opt out in permitting dispensaries because Amendment 20 allows them to do so, even though they constitutionally cannot ban possession of medical marijuana. Garnett disagreed, noting that municipalities are mainly concerned about the locations of dispensaries and the tax revenue they could generate from them.
The debate, moderated by Denver-based political commentator David Sirota, was broadcast on AM 760 Colorado Progressive Talk. A podcast of the program can be found here. In addition to medical marijuana issues, candidates discussed healthcare, immigration and the death penalty. Also discussed was the new Wall Street reform bill, signed by President Barack Obama on July 22, which boosts the state attorney general’s power to bring civil actions to enforce new federal financial regulations in favor of consumer protection.
Editor’s note: Read more coverage on the debate in the Aug. 9 issue of Law Week Colorado.
DENVER – A second debate for Colorado Attorney General candidates is set for for Aug. 3.
The incumbent AG John Suthers, a Republican, and his Democratic challenger Stan Garnett will square off at 8 a.m. on AM 760, Colorado’s Progressive Talk radio. The event will be moderated by morning host David Sirota.
“I’m delighted the debate has been finalized, and I’m looking forward to the next chance to engage my opponent and show voters the clear choice they will have on the important issues in this race,” Garnett said in a press release announcing the debate.
The last debate between Suthers and Garnett in June, held at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, concerned healthcare and immigration issues.
DENVER – Colorado Attorney General John Suthers will not require 150 school districts to pay for an open records request for certain budget information, Suthers’ spokesman said.
The attorney general’s office says internal and public school budget documents are required for preparation of defense in a 2008 lawsuit filed against Colorado by 18 school districts and a number of parents. The lawsuit alleges that Colorado’s system for funding education is unconstitutional. The information will come from districts who aren’t parties in the lawsuit in order to get an accurate picture on how education budgets are done throughout the state, said AG spokesman Mike Saccone.
“We are merely putting together a complete picture of how we do education throughout the state,” Saccone said. “Anything that’s already publicly available, we’re going to get through free channels. But where their internal documents aren’t publicly available, we’re going to work with the districts to obtain copies. We’re willing to accommodate and work with every district on getting the information.”
Under the Colorado Open Records Act, the attorney general is required to pay for expenses for the request, such as employee time to gather the information and copying fees. The office has also offered to send staff to school districts to copy the required documents, or to retrieve the documents for processing and return them within a day. The average cost for each of the 150 school districts is around $2,000 and $5,000.
“There will be no net costs to the districts or the local taxpayers,” Saccone said.
Among the 26 criteria requested are annual expenditures and quarterly reports, but also for demographic information, “honors, awards, special recognition, or scholarships received by teachers, students, administrators, and schools.” Suthers’ Democratic challenger, Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett, has called the request “extremely burdensome” because it will create a distraction among daily administrative duties because districts will “have to stop and set people aside to gather this info.”
“It doesn’t matter to the tax payer whether the AG pays for the costs for this [discovery] or whether local school districts do. The bottom line is that school districts are being used to compile information for this litigation,” said the former president and treasurer of the Boulder Valley School District Board of Education. “At a time when budgets are very tight in Colorado, there’s going to be a distraction cost to school districts by having to put personnel on this task. Even if the AG is going to pay for the copying costs for the documents produced, it’s still taxpayer money being used to compile documents for litigation.”
View a copy of the original opens records request here:
DENVER — Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett announced Wednesday he won’t accept donations from political action committees in his campaign for state attorney general.
“I firmly believe that the people of this state need an Attorney General who is beholden to no special interests, and that it is important to eliminate even the appearance that my priorities might be influenced by deep-pocketed corporate donors,” Garnett said in a campaign release.
Garnett said Attorney General John Suthers has accepted $33,000 in PAC funds since accepting the position in 2005. Suthers’ campaign spokesman declined comment.
BOULDER – Boulder DA Stan Garnett rolled out his new slogan for his campaign for Colorado Attorney General against John Suthers: “Tough. Fair. On Your Side.”
Garnett, who is running as a Democrat against the Republican Suthers, said the slogan represents his experience as both a prosecutor for the 20th Judicial District and as a former litigation partner at Denver firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck.
“It was a challenge for me to squeeze 30 years of legal and public service philosophy into five words, but ‘Tough. Fair. On Your Side,’ gets to the heart of it very effectively,” Garnett said in a statement released May 7.
After two defendants failed to show up in court last week, Boulder DA Stan Garnett and other local law enforcement are pondering raising bond amounts to induce more people to show up for trial, reports John Aguilar from the Daily Camera:
Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett said the debate is worth having, especially when it comes to victims awaiting resolution in traumatic cases like sexual assaults on children.
He said Boulder County’s bond schedule — a guide that bond commissioners and judges use to set bond for various criminal charges — features some of the lowest bond amounts in the state.
“What I’ve been telling my deputies is if we see a bond that’s too low, we need to bring it to the attention of the court,” Garnett said.
Stan Garnett, Boulder’s district attorney and a candidate for Colorado attorney general, will have a campaign manager he knows well: his son, Alec Garnett.
The younger Garnett once worked for Democratic U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter of Colorado’s 7th Congressional District. He’s now a Washington-based press secretary to Rep. John Adler, a first-term Democrat from New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District.
“He’s spent a lot of time in Washington, and he knows politics well,” said Pat Carrigan, an attorney with Faegre & Benson who was treasurer on Garnett’s DA campaign and worked with Stan Garnett at Denver’s Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck law firm.
Law Week unsuccessfully tried to reach Alec Garnett this week.
His father announced his campaign in the wake of Colorado Attorney General John Suthers’ decision to join a lawsuit to block implementation of the recent U.S. health-reform law.
Garnett decried Suthers’ move as a partisan political effort; Suthers, the only Republican to currently hold statewide office, says it’s a necessary move. Suthers is a former Colorado U.S. attorney and former El Paso County district attorney.
A political issue committee spent more than $3,750 promoting a successful measure to relax term limits that narrowly passed in last month’s Boulder County election, according to reports filed with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office. District Attorney Stan Garnett donated $3,050 of the $3,775 money contributed to the Yes on 1D committee, the Longmont Times-Call reports.