Attorney surprises court

Turner blames 'corrupt legal system' in decision to surrender license

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Craig attorney Heather Turner said Thursday she would surrender her license to practice law, causing complications at the Moffat County Courthouse and leaving her clients wondering what to do.

Turner, who represents clients in Grant, Moffat and Routt counties, sent letters Thursday to her clients, other attorneys and court officials informing them of her intention to surrender her license.

"The details of the reasons for this difficult decision will soon be made public," she said in letter to local and state officials and clients.

In the letter, Turner blames a long line of judges, attorneys, the media, law enforcement, her former employees and the department of human services for her decision.

"I am intent on moving to 'greener pastures,' which will allow me to have a stronger, more effective voice for those that continue to be abused by an oftentimes corrupt, confusing and oppressive legal system," she said in the letter.

Turner did not return phone calls Thursday.

Officials at the Moffat County Courthouse on Thursday said that several of Turner's clients called, asking what to do.

The number of cases in which Turner is involved wasn't clear Thursday. How those cases will be handled, including one scheduled to go to trial next week, will vary, Moffat County Court Judge Mary Lynne James said.

Turner was scheduled to appear in court six times next week.

Local attorneys say it's highly unusual for an attorney to surrender her license without being asked to do so by the Colorado Supreme Court.

Most attorneys simply don't renew their license or allow it to become inactive when they want to stop practicing law.

"Surrender of a license is not common practice," attorney Sandra Gardner said.

State law prohibits attorneys from surrendering their licenses if they are under investigation or a request for an investigation has been made.

The Colorado Supreme Court has ruled that attorneys can't surrender their licenses to avoid being disciplined, said Stacy Chesney, a spokeswoman with the Colorado Bar Association.

There are no disciplinary actions or formal complaints filed against Turner.

In her letter, Turner said her decision would be effective Nov. 14, at the conclusion of court business.

"A sincere thanks to those of you in the system who work tirelessly for noble reasons and not for some misguided principles of power. You know who you are," she wrote in her letter.

Earlier this month, Turner, who said she would run for district attorney for the 14th Judicial District in 2008, was evicted from the house she rented for failing to pay rent.

At the time, Turner said she intended to keep practicing in Northwest Colorado. She said she was moving to Granby, but planned to keep her Hayden office open.

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