Democratic House leaders urge Jevon Melton to resign after report on domestic violence allegations
Democratic House leaders are urging Rep. Jovan Melton to resign after The Denver Post reported the lawmaker was arrested twice in the last two decades on charges related to domestic violence involving two girlfriends.
“The Denver Post story is deeply disturbing and very serious. We have spoken with Rep. Melton privately and encouraged him to resign,” said the statement Wednesday from Speaker Crisanta Duran, D-Denver, Majority Leader KC Becker, D-Boulder, and Assistant Majority Leader Alec Garnett, D-Denver.
The leadership acknowledged they cannot force Melton, an Aurora representative and the Democratic majority deputy whip, to resign. His Arapahoe County seat is considered safely Democratic, and he’s running unopposed for his fourth and final term.
“Ultimately it is Rep. Melton’s decision whether to step down. We recognize that the criminal justice system has not worked for far too many people of color and survivors,” they said. “People should not necessarily be precluded from running for office because they have issues in their past. But we urge him to consider the seriousness of the story and the impact on the people of his district and on the public confidence in the legislature.”
Boulder police arrested Melton in 1999 on charges of trespassing and harassment in an incident involving his then-girlfriend, according to Boulder police records. He was 20 years old and a University of Colorado Boulder student at the time. He pleaded guilty and received a deferred sentence.
In 2008, Denver police arrested Melton on a misdemeanor assault charge that was also related to domestic violence, according to court documents. The case was dismissed.
Melton denied any wrongdoing in both cases in interviews with The Denver Post but said in a release that he is “both embarrassed and heartbroken to be reminded of my immaturity all those years ago.”
In a statement, Colorado Republican Chairman Jeff Hays questioned how Democratic leadership handled the case.
“What did Democratic leadership know, and when did they know it?” Hays said. “We saw with Rep. Steve Lebsock that Speaker Crisanta Duran was willing to promote a man she believed to be guilty of harassing a colleague. Did she, Majority Leader KC Becker, Assistant Majority Leader Alec Garnett, or other House Democrats know about Rep. Melton’s past, too? ‘No comment’ is unacceptable when the questions are this serious.”
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