Craig October was a month of accomplishments for rookie attorney and new 14th Judicial District prosecutor Matthew Barrett.
Barrett, a May graduate from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, passed the bar exam, accepted his first job as a litigator and won his first jury trial, a guilty verdict against a Steamboat Springs man for domestic violence harassment.
"It definitely was a very fun opportunity," said Barrett, who began work as a new deputy district attorney Oct. 23. "Within two weeks of having my bar license, I tried my first (case)."
Barrett mostly will handle misdemeanor cases in Moffat County Court. He fills a vacancy created by former Craig office deputy district attorney Ed Veronda's transfer to the Steamboat Springs office.
Veronda transferred to Steamboat after Jay Cramner resigned to work in a private practice.
"It was the opportunity to work with some pretty smart people," Barrett said of why he accepted the job in Craig. "I look at it as a chance to work in a small community with a very heavy and very varied caseload."
Bonnie Roesink, 14th Judicial District Attorney, said nine candidates were interviewed to fill the Craig office vacancy. That number was whittled down to "four exceptional people."
Barrett stood out among the finalists, the district attorney said.
"He was our top choice, and lucky for us, he accepted," Roesink said. "We're very excited. He is very dedicated to being a prosecutor and doing this job."
Barrett, a Dallas native, completed his undergraduate work at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa. His career as an attorney follows in the footsteps of his father, who practiced privately.
Upon graduating law school, Barrett began tackling the daunting task of passing the bar exam, an arduous prospect that even smart, hardworking people sometimes fail, he said.
"It was like three years of law school in a period of eight to 10 weeks," he said.
Although he originally applied for a position with the District Attorney's Steamboat Springs office, Barrett said he's happy to be in Craig learning and practicing his new craft along the way.
"I didn't come here with the intention of leaving in six months," Barrett said. He added, "Right now, I want to take the opportunity to take on a challenge and give back to the community."
Joshua Roberts can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or email@example.com.