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Former southern Colorado district attorney disbarred after controversy

Alonzo Payne resigned as district attorney for the 12th Judicial District after he was investigated for violations of the Victim Rights Act.

DENVER — The state Supreme Court ordered this week that the former district attorney for the 12th Judicial District be disbarred from practicing law in Colorado.

Alonzo Payne resigned as district attorney in the San Luis Valley in July, after he became the focus of a state investigation for violations of the Victim Rights Act.

The investigation by the Colorado Attorney General's Office found that Payne, who began his term as district attorney in January 2021, yelled at crime victims and staff, often 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.

The state's Crime Victim Services Advisory Board found Payne's office likely violated the law several times.

Credit: 9NEWS
Alonzo Payne

Court documents on Payne's disbarment say such action is appropriate when "a lawyer engages in a pattern of neglect with respect to client matters and causes serious or potentially serious injury to a client."

Last month, Gov. Jared Polis appointed Anne E. Kelly as the new 12th Judicial District attorney. She was previously a senior district attorney with the Boulder County District Attorney's Office.

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

RELATED: Southern Colorado DA resigns after Victim Rights Act violation

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

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