Saturday, April 16, 2016

I never thought I'd endorse a prosecutor:-)

This letter appeared today in the Durango (Colorado) Herald:

                I am writing in admiration of the way my son-in-law, Christian Champagne, has performed his duties as Assistant District Attorney of La Plata County these past 7+ years.  I am a retired criminal justice professor, with experience throughout the criminal justice system, including as defense counsel and as expert witness, particularly in support of children in custody disputes whom I believed to have been sexually assaulted.  I have seen Christian at trial both as public defender and as prosecutor, and discussed many cases with him.  I have seldom seen any lawyer in criminal court as well prepared skilled as Christian.  I have been particularly moved by how conscientiously and consistently he has supported, prepared and worked with victims, particularly women who have been sexually assaulted in childhood.

                At the same time, Christian recognizes that for many of the problems encountered by the police and the district attorney, incarceration is an unnecessary expense to taxpayers, and worse, socially destructive, as when a family breadwinner loses a job.  Instead, he has helped create a DUI court, a court for alternative treatment of mental illness, a drug court, and a diversion program.  He is active both in the operation of these programs, and in community outreach and education to let the community know where to get help and support for crime-related problems, and to generate community involvement in public safety and outreach programs.

                In sum, I have known and respected many prosecutors.  Christian Champagne stands out for his hard work and dedication, for his accessibility, for his care and support for crime victims and safety, for his community education efforts, and for his creative energy on programs that helps restore people to the community in ways that work where incarceration doesn’t.  He cares.


                                                                                                                                                Hal Pepinsky

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