Prosecutor’s job inspired by missionary service |

Prosecutor’s job inspired by missionary service

Collin Smith

Jon Pfeifer, deputy district attorney with the 14th Judicial District Attorney's Office, sits in his new office at the Moffat County Courthouse. Pfeifer, who started Sept. 15, said he always wanted a job that serves the public well.

Practicing law is an extension of Jon Pfeifer’s stated commitment to public service.

Pfeifer, 30, a new deputy district attorney for the 14th Judicial District’s Craig office, hopes to bring his faith in justice to his new position as county court attorney.

It was the 20-something Pfeifer who was first inspired to become more active in the world after a two-year church mission to Bolivia.

He said it’s hard to explain exactly what happened to him while serving his mission as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“It changed me in a lot of ways,” Pfeifer said. “It made me into a scholar. I had never been a student until after my mission. I was more interested in the world after, and people.”

The trip spurned his interest in his undergraduate major of history and international cultural studies. After he earned his degree, Pfeifer decided he wanted an education that was more action-oriented.

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“It was kind of a liberal arts background,” he said. “I think I wanted to get into a more practical field.”

He enrolled in Indiana University School of Law thereafter, although it wasn’t long before Pfeifer was again volunteering overseas. After his first year, Pfeifer marrried his wife, Emily, and the two joined the Peace Corps.

They spent the next two years in Panama working mostly in community education and environmental conservation. In the small town of Cuipo, the couple started an adult school program for people to finish high school and helped build a community education center with computers and library books.

“We wanted to start a family,” Pfeifer said of him and his wife, “and we knew that if we were going to do something like this, it would have to be before we had kids.”

After returning to the U.S., Pfeifer said he never really considered becoming a defense attorney.

“I was interested in justice,” he said. “I’m excited to work in a prosecutor’s office. Our client is the state, and unlike a defender, who has one client, our client is justice.”

Pfeifer now awaits Oct. 10, when he will learn whether he passed the Colorado bar exam. Under the Colorado Student Practice Act, law students and recent graduates are allowed to practice, but they may not represent the state in felony cases or in District Court.

A student practice certification remains in effect until the announcement of a law student’s first bar exam results after graduation.

Until then, Pfeifer said he is eager to learn as much as he can and become a part of the community he hopes to serve.

“I hope to learn to represent my client: the state and the people of Colorado,” he said.

Collin Smith can be reached at 875-1794 or