Bryan tapped to head DA’s office in Aspen

by Chad Abraham, Aspen Daily News Staff Writer

Andrea Bryan and her husband recently moved to Carbondale from Aspen because she was tiring of the daily commute to Glenwood Springs, where she works as a deputy district attorney.

As fate would have it, she now faces the opposite commuting problem. District Attorney-elect Sherry Caloia said Friday that Bryan will handle felony prosecutions for the Aspen district attorney’s office.

Bryan, who has been a prosecutor for four years under outgoing District Attorney Martin Beeson, will replace Chief Deputy District Attorney Arnold Mordkin, who Caloia did not retain.

Bryan, 30, said she sought the job because she has ties to the community, as she lived here for three years prior to moving downvalley in October. It also helps that husband Chris Bryan works in Aspen as an attorney for the Garfield and Hecht law firm.

“I feel like I’m really part of the Aspen community,” she said. “I love Aspen as a place to work and play. And I have to admit, it’s appealing to me to work in the same town as my husband.”

Bryan said she also has prosecuted cases numerous times before Judge Gail Nichols of Pitkin County District Court.

“I think I have a good relationship with her and have a good understanding of how she runs her courtroom,” she said.

Caloia said Friday that she chose Bryan for the Aspen docket because of her felony-level experience and her local connections. Caloia, who is wrapping up her defense attorney practice before she is sworn in Jan. 8, also worked with Bryan when Caloia was representing defendants.

“I found her to be a good lawyer, and I think she’s a good fit” for Aspen, Caloia said.

Bryan

Among the felony cases Bryan has handled in the 9th Judicial District was the successful prosecution of Shawnee Ryan, a former interior designer who was convicted by a jury in August on seven counts of felony theft. She was sentenced to 12 years in prison for stealing thousands of dollars from her clients, Bryan said.

Bryan will have discretion over which cases are prosecuted; it has not been decided if her job title will be the same as Mordkin’s. Caloia said she wants to be in the job for awhile and work with her deputies before she names her assistant district attorney.

Deputy District Attorney Richard Nedlin, who handles misdemeanors and traffic cases in Pitkin County, also is not being retained.

Caloia said she has not yet decided how she will fill Nedlin’s position or if that person will work full time in Aspen.

“I don’t know what the caseload is for the Aspen courts yet to know whether they’d be full time,” she said. “We’ll probably be rotating [coverage] for the first few weeks so I can really make a good hire.”

Whoever covers the misdemeanor docket will likely handle cases and trials in Glenwood and elsewhere to improve their experience, Caloia said.

The district attorney-elect has also hired Scott Turner, currently assistant district attorney under outgoing DA Mark Hurlbert of the 5th Judicial District, and Steve Mallory, Hurlbert’s chief deputy district attorney. Hurlbert is leaving office because of term limits, and Turner lost his bid to replace Hurlbert in the November election.

Turner and Mallory will handle felony cases in Glenwood Springs, and Turner will oversee prosecutions in other counties, as well, Caloia said.

Pitkin, Garfield and Rio Blanco counties comprise the 9th Judicial District.


chad@aspendailynews.com