Brian Mason, the district attorney-elect for the 17th Judicial District, has named 11 lawyers, law enforcement officials and community members to his transition team, with an emphasis on the diversity of the district.
“This team of highly respected professionals will help me evaluate what the District Attorney’s Office is doing well and where we can do better, while also reaching out to stakeholders throughout our community for input and feedback,” said Mason, a Democrat who is succeeding term-limited District Attorney Dave Young.
The following individuals are members of the transition:
- Damon Barry, office managing partner at Ballard Spahr
- Loren Brown, managing partner at Ciancio Ciancio Brown
- Jerome DeHerrera, partner at Achieve Law Group, LLC and 17th Judicial District Performance Commission member
- Nancy Feldman, former manager of the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice Office of Victims Programs and former victim advocate in Arapahoe County
- Michael Goodbee, former 17th Judicial District judge and former Fifth Judicial District Attorney
- Omar Montgomery, president of the Aurora Chapter of the NAACP and former mayoral candidate
- Patty Powell, principal and owner of Counsel for Counsel, LLC and former University of Denver Law School dean
- Todd Reeves, Westminster Deputy Chief of Police
- LuzMaria Shearer, former investigator at the Attorney General’s Office and former Adams County Sheriff’s deputy
- Lorenzo Trujillo, former assistant dean at the University of Colorado Law School
- Toni Wehman, deputy general counsel at Denver Public Schools and LGBT Bar Association member
Mason, who has served for more than a decade in the 17th Judicial District, previously worked for the Clinton Administration and spent time as a fellow with the German government in Berlin.
“My charge to the transition team is to help me prepare to take office, to evaluate what the office is doing well and where we can do better, and to advise me on how to play a more constructive role in the community that we serve,” said Mason, who will represent Adams and Broomfield counties.
Mason described two phases of the transition: the first is a “listening phase” where the members will meet with staff from the district attorney’s office and relevant groups from the community to solicit thoughts. The second phase will synthesize the information received and provide Mason with advice.
Young did not put together a similar transition effort prior to his first term. Mason said that he was “searching far and wide and also internally to find the best people” to staff the office before his January inauguration.
Juston Cooper, executive director of CCJRC4Action, described the announcement as a "curiosity," given the rarity in his experience of district attorneys forming transition teams. Local prosecutors elected this year in other states, including in Georgia, California and Texas, have announced similar efforts, focusing on reform within their offices.
The announcement from Mason is "consistent with what he said on the campaign trail" about community engagement, said Cooper. He added he was cautiously optimistic that the action "begins the conversation regarding community expectations of transparency of elected DA's."
CCJRC4Action is the campaign affiliate of the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition, which held candidate forums and created voter guides for this year's district attorney elections. While the group also made endorsements, it declined to do so in the 17th Judicial District, believing neither candidate adhered sufficiently to the reform group's principles.
Cooper offered that aside from Montgomery, the membership seemed "top-heavy" on people who work or formerly worked within the justice system. "For example, there is a missed opportunity, according to the configuration of the team, to include the voice or representation of people who are directly impacted by the criminal legal system," he said.