Legal Profession Blog: "A Colorado District Attorney is the subject of a stayed six-months suspension and probation accepted by the Presiding Disciplinary Judge. Ruybalid is the elected District Attorney for the Third Judicial District, which includes Las Animas County and Huerfano County.
In eight criminal prosecutions between 2010 and 2013, he violated Colo. RPC 1.3, which requires lawyers to act with reasonable diligence and promptness, and Colo. RPC 8.4(d), which provides that lawyers shall not prejudice the administration of justice.
By way of illustration, Ruybalid did not ensure that a sufficient flow of information was maintained between investigative personnel and his own office, neglected to give defense counsel advance notice of ballistic testing, neglected to give the defense expert disclosures, did not timely determine what information should be disclosed to the defense, and did not make appropriate and timely discovery disclosures. In some instances this conduct led the courts to impose sanctions, while in other instances Ruybalid moved to dismiss the underlying charges before sanctions hearings could take place. Ruybalid’s conduct required the courts to expend resources in reviewing sanctions motions and issuing sanctions orders, and he caused delay in some of the cases. In at least one instance, he moved to dismiss a case because he believed a discovery sanction prevented him from proving the defendant’s guilt.
In addition, Ruybalid violated Colo. RPC 5.1(b) by failing to make reasonable efforts to ensure that his subordinate attorneys conformed to the Rules of Professional Conduct. For most of the 2009-2014 period, Ruybalid’s office consisted solely of Ruybalid himself, one assistant district attorney, and one deputy district attorney. During that timeframe, Ruybalid did not properly supervise and train his subordinates. The deputies had scant experience when Ruybalid hired them, yet they began handling trials without reasonable supervision. Ruybalid’s subordinates in a number of cases did not ensure that a sufficient flow of information was maintained between investigative personnel and the prosecutor’s office, neglected to produce impeachment information, did not comply with the Victim’s Rights Act, disobeyed court orders, and did not make appropriate and timely discovery disclosures.
He must complete a 23-month term of probation. (Mike Frisch)"
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