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News (Media Awareness Project) - Colorado; ExFelon Hired as County Prosecutor
Title:Colorado; ExFelon Hired as County Prosecutor
Published On:1997-09-03
Fetched On:2008-09-07 23:01:18
BRIGHTON, Colo. (AP) Less than a decade after she pleaded guilty to
selling cocaine to an undercover police officer, Cynthia Ciancio is
Adams County's newest prosecutor.

Ms. Ciancio, 29, says the arrest turned her life around and that the
experience will make her a better prosecutor. But the president of the
Colorado Fraternal Order of Police calls her hiring ``morally repugnant,''
and some critics say she landed the job only because her father, local
attorney Gene Ciancio, is a political ally of Bob Grant, district attorney of
this county north of Denver.

Grant, who hired Ms. Ciancio as an Adams County deputy district attorney in
May, bristles at the criticism.

``It shouldn't disqualify you from a government job that your parents are in
politics,'' he said. ``Cindy Ciancio was evaluated and hired on her own

Ms. Ciancio, 29, was sentenced to four years probation after pleading guilty
in 1990 to selling $250 worth of cocaine.

In a letter to the 3,500 members of the Colorado Fraternal Order of Police,
Michael Bliss said Ms. Ciancio's hiring will erode public faith in the
criminal justice system.

``Law enforcement has taken enough black eyes over the last couple years.
This is one more black eye we don't need,'' Bliss said.

Ms. Ciancio understands the criticism, but is determined to prove naysayers
wrong. ``I'm not going to quit,'' she said.

After graduating from high school in 1986, she got a job selling cars and was
more interested in partying and what she called ``very casual'' drug use
than going to college. But after her arrest, she got motivated.

``If that had not happened, I don't know if I would have left for college and
I don't know where I'd be now,'' she said.

Ms. Ciancio graduated from Lyndon State College in Vermont and then earned
her law degree from the University of Denver. She worked as an intern at the
Adams County District Attorney's office before being hired full time.

Grant says Ms. Ciancio's brush with the law is a positive.

``People with a background that includes coming through adversity make damn
good prosecutors, because they understand both sides of the system,'' he

Bliss remains unconvinced by such arguments, pointing out that a felony
conviction would legally bar a person from becoming a police officer.

``It's not about Cindy Ciancio the person at all,'' he said. ``The fact that
she's rehabilitated her life, she should be commended. But as a person who's
a convicted felon she should not be a law officer, and that's what a
prosecutor is.''
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