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San Luis Valley gets new DA after previous one resigned amid controversy

Gov. Jared Polis on Monday appointed Anne E. Kelly as the district attorney for the 12th Judicial District in the San Luis Valley.

DENVER — The San Luis Valley has a new district attorney, after the previous one resigned in July amid an investigation into violations of the Victims Rights Act.

Gov. Jared Polis announced the appointment on Monday of Anne E. Kelly as district attorney for the 12th Judicial District in southern Colorado. Kelly was a senior deputy district attorney since 2019 with the Boulder County District Attorney's Office.

Kelly replaces Alonzo Payne, who resigned as district attorney in July after an investigation by the Colorado Attorney General's Office found that he yelled at crime victims and staff, showed up late to meetings, missed follow-ups required by law and didn't consult victims when it came to plea deals or dismissing cases.

Payne also faced a recall election.

RELATED: Southern Colorado DA resigns after Victim Rights Act violation

“I am honored to be selected for this role, and my top priority is to restore trust in the Office of the District Attorney and the criminal justice system," Kelly said in a news release. "Restoring trust requires transparency, constant engagement, and implementation of effective systems while prioritizing being accessible to the community including law enforcement, victims, community groups, and defense attorneys."

After Payne's resignation, the Colorado District Attorneys' Council and the state's 21 elected district attorneys worked with state Attorney General Phil Weiser to assist the 12th Judicial District Attorney's Office while the position was vacant.

Kelly was among those who spent time in the San Luis Valley and decided to apply for the position, according to the Boulder District Attorney's Office.

Kelly has nearly 20 years of experience in law. She has worked in the private sector and served in the district attorney's offices for the 18th, 19th and 20th Judicial Districts, with a focus on prosecuting domestic violence. She also has prosecuted cases on homicide, sexual assault, fraud and other crimes.

"It is a loss for our office because Anne is terrific, but she will be an outstanding district attorney for the victims, community members and law enforcement officers of the 12th Judicial District," said Boulder District Attorney Michael Dougherty in a news release.

The 12th Judicial District includes Alamosa, Conejos, Costilla, Mineral, Rio Grande and Saguache counties in southern Colorado.

> The video below aired July 13: San Luis Valley DA resigns before recall election:

RELATED: State attorney general requires reforms in southern Colorado DA's office for victims' rights violations

RELATED: Colorado to respond to recall efforts for district attorney

RELATED: Board finds southern Colorado DA's office repeatedly violated Victim Rights Act


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