[This 'Letter to the Editor' provided courtesy BoulderNews; date = September 23, 2000]
It is frightening to imagine having a district attorney who lies. During the course of her primary campaign, Mary Keenan based her candidacy on her claim to have been aggressive in prosecuting cases of child sexual assault. Her record of plea bargains (90 out of 126 not doing a day of prison) proves that claim to be false. When challenged, Ms. Keenan defended her recorded by stating that the plea bargains primarily involved consensual sex between teenagers or a "developmentally disabled" adult touching the outside of a fully clothed teenager's breast.
The actual court records show Ms. Keenan agreeing to deferred sentences for pedophiles who chased and touched little girls in the recreation center wading pool, and probation for step-fathers who had ongoing sexual relations with 12-15 year old step-daughters. To put it gently, Ms. Keenan's denials were contrary to the truth.
Ms. Keenan lied in the last week of the campaign when she launched her attack ads against Trip DeMuth. Ms. Keenan's ads criticized Mr. DeMuth for agreeing to the plea bargain in the Furlong murder case, without acknowledging that she also appeared in court and signed on her consent that it was an appropriate disposition to the case. Ms. Keenan misrepresented Mr. DeMuth's record by lumping DUI and check fraud cases together in her statistics claiming they were "violent criminals" that DeMuth had consented to plea bargains without prison time. Apparently presenting the truth was not her goal.
It is certainly true that her strategy succeeded. Ms. Keenan won the primary, and to the victor goes the spoils. Ms. Keenan has now begun her general election campaign against David Sanderson. Presumably she will once again claim to have a record of tough prosecution of child sexual assault cases, and complain that anyone focusing on the truth of her record is engaging in negative campaigning.
It is frightening to imagine a district attorney who lies and wins.