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Blank: Proud of 25-year DA record

I am Dan Blank, and it has been my privilege to serve you as Douglas County district attorney for the past 25 years. I am running for re-election because of tremendous community support and my passion for justice in our court system. It is rewarding to be part of the solution to many of our area’s most challenging problems.

The past two years have been especially challenging. The senseless shooting death of Garth Velin has had a tragic impact on his parents, family, friends and our community. Citizens provided tips to the Superior Police Department, who worked hard on the complex investigation. Within days, five suspects were identified and arrested; I charged them all with party to felony murder. Garth’s death was the result of the group’s attempt to rob him of his marijuana and cash. The investigators’ consensus of the evidence was that Garth struggled with the lead armed robber, Chance Andrews, who had a loaded handgun, and the gun fired unintentionally. The four accessories were Andrews’ girlfriend and three other young men.

The DA’s office worked to provide Garth’s parents their victim rights with compassion, dignity and respect. Dozens of meetings took place with investigators and the parents to discuss strengths and weaknesses of the cases, and the likelihood of success at jury trial. I was brutally honest in stating jury convictions against all five were not guaranteed. We needed at least one of the five to be a cooperating witness, and I promised to pursue serious felony convictions and prison on all five. Plea bargaining was discussed and tough decisions were made.

Andrews pleaded guilty to felony murder, and was sentenced to 30 of the 35 maximum years prison. Kane Robinson rejected a plea bargain. I proceeded to trial; the jury found him guilty of party to felony murder. He was sentenced to 28 years prison. Kyham Dunn rejected a plea bargain. The jury found him not guilty. Teah Phillips agreed to testify; she pleaded guilty to party to attempted armed robbery. Dallas Robinson rejected a plea bargain. The jury found him guilty of party to felony murder. The last two will be sentenced in mid-August.

That was just five of over 2,500 charged criminal cases our office was prosecuting during the past two years. Our area’s cases continue to stretch local resources, especially with the heroin epidemic, and the spin-off impact of property crime and drug-endangered children. I am committed to taking on these problems with best-practice strategies.

Every day I try my best to do the right thing for the right reasons. None of us are perfect, and I am no exception. There are people who dislike me and some of my decisions, and exaggerate or misrepresent facts. There is nothing I can do about that, other than continue to treat people with respect and explain my decisions and actions. The negative attacks by our sheriff and other supporters of my opponent are disappointing. I have chosen to run a positive campaign based on my record.

I am proud of my 25-year "smart on crime" record as your district attorney. The broad-based Superior Federation of Labor has endorsed me. I respectfully ask for your support Aug. 9.