The District Attorney’s Office was recognized last week for its handling of area cases involving wildlife violations.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife leaders on Nov. 1 honored Deputy District Attorneys Jason Wilson, Aubrey Vila and Matthew Magliaro, along with Victim Services Supervisor Aimee English and Legal Services staff member Dawn Schlauger, as well as the office as a whole.
The award recognized the office’s dedication to protecting wildlife in Colorado and “outstanding efforts to prosecute those who would attempt to steal the ‘crown jewel’ of Colorado,” according to an announcement from the DA’s Office.
Wilson was recognized for the prosecution of Jon Joseph Miller, who was convicted of felony destruction of wildlife and aggravated animal cruelty earlier this year.
Miller, of Olathe, shot a sow bear that had two cubs, and left her to die. He said at sentencing he was not guilty and alleged perjury and prosecutorial misconduct. The DA’s Office had investigated Miller’s complaint prior to sentencing and found nothing to support his allegations.
Some of Miller’s own hunting party reported him in what officials called an “egregious” case. The sentencing judge said the evidence against him was overwhelming and that, as a seasoned hunter, he should have known better.
CPW’s Nov. 1 award to the DA’s Office also recognized Vila for her prosecution of a “complex” Ouray County case involving the baiting of elk during hunting season. The agency further specifically recognized Magliaro, English and Schlauger.
“There have been several what we call big cases this year,” CPW spokesman Joe Lewandowski said. “Sometimes, wildlife crimes are not viewed as seriously in some jurisdictions for prosecution. The 7th Judicial District and DA (Dan) Hotsenpiller has worked closely with us and his staff. They’ve really helped us take these cases from, basically, charges to convictions.”
In announcing receipt of the award, Hotsenpiller said the office is committed to being a leader in prosecuting wildlife offenses, in order to protect Colorado’s superior hunting, fishing and outdoor-based recreation that factors heavily into the economy.
“We are proud to continue or partnership of outstanding work with the officers and staff of Colorado Parks and Wildlife in the prosecution of cases involving violations of the laws in place to protect our wildlife,” Hotsenpiller’s announcement said.
CPW in presenting the award acknowledged that commitment.
“We’re just really appreciative that crimes against wildlife are being taken seriously in Western Colorado, where we have a great affinity for wildlife,” Lewandowski said.