on September 12, 2016 by in Golden News, Comments Off on Army vet trying for DA position

Army vet trying for DA position

Jake Lilly dreamed of living in Colorado for most of his life. And now that he’s here, he sees an excellent opportunity to serve his new community, he said.Lilly is vying for the position of district attorney for the 1st Judicial District, which encompasses Jefferson and Gilpin counties. He is running against incumbent Pete Weir.”The district attorney needs to be responsible to the people,” Lilly said. “The next generation is pushing for new methods of prosecuting and preventing crime. I bring a wide variety of experience, and at the same time, new and fresh ideas.”Lilly, 38, has 13 years of experience as a lawyer. He earned his law degree with a specialization in international affairs from Cornell Law School in 2003.In the Army, he served as trial counsel and special assistant to the U.S. Attorney. He was an assistant district attorney in Savannah, Georgia, and in Fort Worth, Texas.Lilly worked as a litigation associate in an Indianapolis law firm, and he is a defense attorney at his own firm in Lakewood. He has lived in Jefferson County for two years.”He’s very well-rounded,” said defense attorney Maureen O’Brien, past president of the Criminal Defense Bar.Because Lilly has experience in prosecution and defense, she said, he understands both sides when a person is charged with a crime.”He can see how a decision affects all of society, not just one person,” O’Brien said. “It’s important that somebody is able to see all sides of something.”A former colleague also lauded his ethics and enthusiasm for his work.”In my 26 years of experience in law, I have never met a prosecutor with better ethics and zeal,” said defense attorney Francisco Hernandez, one of Lilly’s former adversaries in Fort Worth.Lilly’s time in the military taught him responsibility, judgment and leadership, he said. He served in the Army for three years active duty and five years in the reserves. He was introduced to life in Colorado when he was assigned to Fort Carson in the early 2000s.In 2005, he fought in Iraq.”I’ve seen the worst of humanity,” Lilly said.He ran detainee operations for the greater Baghdad area and led more than 80 search-and-rescue missions to find and stop Iraqi torture and death camps, he said.His time in the military provides him with the experience of making difficult decisions, said Dave Thomas, a defense attorney who was the 1st Judicial District’s district attorney from 1993-2005.”He’s very innovative,” Thomas said of Lilly, and added Lilly would bring good perspective and balance to the office.Specifically, Lilly “would be valuable in guiding the future of the veteran’s court,” Thomas said, “because he is a veteran.”Having been actively involved in a number of veteran’s courts in various places, Lilly said, he is a big advocate of diversion courts. These specialty courts, which treat the mentally ill, juveniles and veterans, for example, are designed to intervene when there’s a problem, rather than punish those people as someone who simply commits crimes.”It’s a judgment call — who can be helped and who cannot,” Lilly said.If elected as district attorney for the 1st Judicial District, Lilly said he plans to work to end private prisons in Colorado and reduce the 1st Judicial District’s district attorney’s budget.Lilly also wants to stop sending nonviolent offenders to the Department of Corrections, especially nonviolent drug offenders, he said.”My No. 1 goal,” he said, “is to prosecute violent offenders fully and do everything possible to keep nonviolent offenders out of the system.”

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