EAGLE, Colorado - Eight of the 5th Judicial District's 12 prosecutors are leaving before incoming District Attorney Bruce Brown takes office on Tuesday, but Brown said he had no trouble replacing them.
The eight departing attorneys' last day is Monday, if they haven't left already. Their replacements start Tuesday when Brown is sworn in.
"They start Jan. 8, the day I raise my right hand," Brown said.
District Attorney Mark Hurlbert and assistant DA Scott Turner are on their way out, as are six of the 10 staff attorneys. Three in Summit County will remain, and one in Lake County. All four in the Eagle office are gone.
Brown, a Democrat, won the November election over Turner, a Republican. The 5th Judicial District covers Eagle, Summit, Lake and Clear Creek counties.
Hurlbert has been through a couple regime changes in the district attorney's office and says this is unprecedented.
He was a prosecutor when Pete Michaelson was the district attorney. When Michaelson left and Mike Goodbee replaced him, a couple attorneys left the office. When Hurlbert was appointed to replace Goodbee, a couple more attorneys went on their way.
"Pete lost a couple and Mike lost a couple, but not 60 percent of your attorney staff," Hurlbert said. "These are people with some experience."
Brown said his lineup may be the most experienced staff the district attorney's office has ever had. He said Edwards attorney Joe Kerwin has 30 years of experience.
"Some transitions can be difficult, but they can be easier when people who are not interested in being part of a new direction move on," Brown said. "I'm confident that the young attorneys will be stars," Brown said.
Brown said he expected some staff turnover. He's hiring more attorneys than he'd anticipated, but it's a buyer's market.
"We're in a good position to hire good people and we have," Brown said.
Hurlbert's last day as the local District Attorney is Jan. 7. He starts Jan. 8 as the assistant DA in the 18th Judicial District: Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln counties. The district includes a large section of Aurora, including the site of last summer's theater shooting. The preliminary hearing for that case is next week, Hurlbert said.
George Brauchler, the 18th district's incoming district attorney, is starting a cold case unit and Hurlbert will run it.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.