State Rep. Jovan Melton (D-Aurora) was just elected to the House of Representatives for the fourth time. Last month, the Denver Post reported that Melton has two prior arrests for domestic violence in 1999 and 2008. The 2008 case was dismissed, but he received a deferred sentence in the 1999 case.
Melton, who had previously ignored texts and voicemails from 9NEWS, attended a House Democratic leadership caucus meeting at the Capitol on Thursday, and we were there to ask if voters should have known about his past prior to his first election in 2012.
"I've never sealed my record, I've never tried to seal my record. I've gone through numerous background checks. Before I was elected, I worked in the lieutenant governor's office downstairs. I went through an extensive background check at that point," said Melton. "I've gone through numerous background checks. It's not like this is the first or the second or the third time I've been elected. This is the fourth time I've been elected, so should the voters know? I've never tried to hide it."
He also never made it a talking point.
Melton won his first election with 59 percent of the vote in 2012. He won re-election in 2014 with 54 percent, again in 2016 with 60 percent, and as of Thursday night, he won with 64 percent of the vote in House District 41 which covers Aurora and Arapahoe County.
"I stood by my innocence then. I was up against a rock and a hard place, being a 20-year-old individual. It was either go to trial and continue to plead my innocence or take a deferred judgment, which virtually has the exact same outcome of having the charges dismissed, I decided to take the deferred judgment. My family could not afford to go to trial, which would have been upwards of $20,000," said Melton.
After Melton's past became known, Democratic House leadership called for him to resign.
A day later, prominent African American community leaders, led by former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb said it was a double standard to call for Melton to resign, but not a lawmaker who had been convicted of a DUI and another who was accused of harassment in an incident that happened prior to becoming a lawmaker.
"Someone shouldn't - their past shouldn't determine their future," Melton said.