Judge dismisses lawsuit targeting Denver DA

This week a district judge dismissed a lawsuit targeting Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey over his office’s decision to not pursue a criminal case against a Colorado state senator.

The suit was brought by Colorado Ethics Watch, a watchdog group that wanted the district attorney to initiate a criminal investigation into a complaint that the organization filed in April 2007 claiming that Republican Senate Minority Leader Andy McElhany, R-Colorado Springs, violated a state law that prohibits public representatives from taking monetary gifts and using them toward official state business.

CEW claims McElhany broke the law when he accepted a gift of $2,700 from a GOP political committee to pay for ColoradoSenateNews.com, the official Web site and communications hub of the state’s Senate Minority Office. CEW also accused McElhany of failing to properly report the $2,700 gift used to fund the Web site.

The district attorney’s office, however, announced that a review of the CEW complaint found no evidence warranting criminal charges. In response the group sued the district attorney for not pursuing the case, but a district judge threw out the suit on Tuesday after considering written arguments.

Erin Rosa was born in Spain and raised in Colorado Springs. She is a freelance writer currently living in Denver. Rosa's work has been featured in a variety of news outlets including the Huffington Post, Democracy Now!, and the Rocky Mountain Chronicle, an alternative-weekly in Northern Colorado where she worked as a columnist covering the state legislature. Rosa has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting on lobbying and woman's health issues. She was also tapped with a rare honorable mention award by the Newspaper Guild-CWA's David S. Barr Award in 2008--only the second such honor conferred in its nine-year history--for her investigative series covering the federal government's Supermax prison in the state. Rosa covers the labor community, corrections, immigration and government transparency matters. She can be reached at erosa@www.coloradoindependent.com.

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