Early Family History
Steve is a first generation American, on his father’s side. His father, Erik, was from Denmark, and grew up under German occupation. When he turned 21, he emigrated by passenger ship to New York in 1951, and then moved to Chicago. Steve's mother, Millie, was born in 1933 and grew up in Wheaton, Illinois. Her family had a small family farm, and she was the oldest of ten children. When Steve was young, his parents were divorced then his mother remarried. Steve's stepfather, Ivan, served in the US Navy during WWII on a mine sweeper and was part of the US occupation forces stationed in Japan.
When Steve was 8 years old, in the summer of 1967, he and his family moved to Colorado Springs. Steve attended elementary school, middle school, and Harrison High School in Colorado Springs. In high school he discovered speech and debate, which would become his passion for the next six years. He competed with the high school team and learned that he loved oral advocacy. During his senior year, he and his partner were one of the best cross-examination debate teams in Colorado. Steve qualified for the state forensic tournament in extemporaneous speaking and cross-examination debate. He and his partner placed 3rd in cross-examination debate at the state tournament in 1977. Steve spent his last semester of high school doing an executive high school internship program with the Colorado Springs District Attorney’s Office, which intensified his growing interest in pursuing a career in law.
Through college, Steve served in student government as the Student Advocate, advocating for student rights and assisting students in defending against disciplinary actions. He eventually graduated with the highest honors—Special Distinction.
During all four years of college, he was also intensely active in speech and debate. He had some 400 total rounds of competition. He was elected Team Captain twice. He received numerous awards and honors, including 3rd place at Junior Nationals, Outstanding Freshman Debater, Debater of the Year (twice), 1st alternate to NDT Nationals, and the Lloyd Dudley Award for Excellence in the Field of Speech.
Steve’s most significant honor was his selection for the United States Debate Team—Japan Tour in 1980. The US team was composed of just two American debaters, Steve and his partner from the University of Massachusetts, and their debate coach from Wake Forest University. After first preparing in California, the team travelled to Japan for a six-week tour. The team travelled all across Japan, from Hokkaido in the North to Nagasaki in the South, representing the United States in debates against 23 Japanese universities. The team debated, in English, the Japanese national topic: “Resolved that the diet should change the structure of the national taxes.” Steve was in Japan during the 35th anniversary year of the bombing of Hiroshima and was asked to speak in Hiroshima, where his stepfather had been 35 years before, on the issue of the United State’s decision to drop the atomic bomb. The trip was a fantastic and unforgettable adventure and learning experience.
Law School at CU Boulder
Steve attended the University of Colorado School of Law, in Boulder from 1981-1984 and graduated in the top 15% of his class. In law school Steve was very active in activities involving international law and relations. He was Vice President of the International Law Club. He worked as a research and editorial assistant to the law school’s international law professor. He was Captain of the Jessup international law moot court team. In 1984 he led the team to win the mountain regional championship, and was given the award for “Best Oralist” in the mountain region. The team travelled to Washington DC to represent CU in the National Championship Tournament.
During the summer of 1983, Steve did a clerkship for the US Army JAG Corp. He spent 3 months assigned to West Berlin, assisting in court-martial proceedings and in providing legal advice to US military personnel. He was assigned as the first law clerk to serve in West Berlin, West Germany.At the time, West Berlin was still an occupied city, with the Berlin Wall dividing East Berlin from West Berlin. President Ronald Reagan was in office and the cold war was in full swing. Steve crossed through Checkpoint Charlie on several occasions to observe life in communist East Germany. Seeing the difference between a free market economy with democratic institutions and the communist economy under an oppressive regime was an eye-opening experience for a twenty-four-year-old law student.
District Attorney Work
Following graduation from law school, Steve received an offer of a commission as a Captain in the US Army JAG Corp, an offer from a private law firm, and to become a Deputy District Attorney for the 10th Judicial District, representing Pueblo County. He accepted the offer to become a Deputy District Attorney and was sworn in as a Deputy DA in late October of 1984.
Steve worked with the Tenth Judicial District Attorney’s Office until February of 1987. He started out assigned to the County Court. Within a year, he was promoted to County Court Supervisor and also assigned the responsibility of administering a DUI interdiction grant. During his twenty-eight months with the DA’s Office in Pueblo, Steve conducted some 50 misdemeanor and traffic case jury trials and six felony trials.
In 1986, while at the Pueblo DA’s Office, Steve had the opportunity to argue the 1st case ever heard before the Colorado Supreme at a public high school. People v. Archuleta, 719 P. 2d 1091 (Colo. 1986), was an important case deciding whether Miranda warnings must be given to suspects who were stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence and subject to routine questioning. The county court had suppressed the evidence related to such questioning of a DUI defendant, relying on language of some earlier Colorado decisions. The District Attorney’s Office argued that those earlier decisions were wrong and inconsistent with more recent pronouncements by the US Supreme Court, and appealed the case to the District Court and then to the Colorado Supreme Court. The Colorado Supreme Court set the matter for oral argument at a Cherry Creek High School as part of the judiciary’s celebration of Law Day. The auditorium was packed with students and teachers, who observed this first-time event. The Supreme Court agreed with the argument made by Steve and his appellate partner, reversed the suppression order, and disapproved of earlier decisions to the contrary. This was a significant victory for law-enforcement in their efforts to prosecute drunk drivers in Colorado.
Steve started with the First Judicial District on January 19, 1988, and has worked there as a Deputy District Attorney and Chief Deputy District Attorney ever since. During his career with the First Judicial District, Steve has handled many of the office’s most serious cases. Steve has supervised virtually every prosecution unit within the office--County Court, Crime’s Against Children, District Court, Juvenile, and Intake. He has been the Chief Deputy over Gilpin County, the limited gaming district, for some 13 years, and screens and files virtually all Gilpin County felony cases. He has served on many criminal justice related committees and has written several pieces of legislation that have improved the criminal law in Colorado.
Family & personal Life
In 1986, Steve met his wife, Lori, and they were married in 1988. Lori has a bachelor’s degree in health care management and a master’s degree in public administration. She worked for many years in the field of health care information systems and recently with maintaining the District Attorney’s Office’s case management system.
Steve and Lori have two children. Their daughter, Molly, attended Wheat Ridge High School and the University of Colorado at Boulder, where she graduated with a degree in international affairs and a minor in Spanish. She is presently enrolled in law school at the University of New Hampshire. Their son, Grady, attended Lakewood High School’s IB program. He is an Eagle Scout, with his Eagle Scout Service Project being the Service Dog Memorial at the Foothills Animal Shelter. Grady currently attends Northwestern University, where he is majoring in theatre with a minor in psychology.
Steve has been actively involved in service to the community. He is a member of the Rotary Club of Golden and a past president of the club. Through Rotary he has been involved in many service activities, including the annual peach sale, the annual toy-drive for the miracle shop, the holiday food-box project, the Golden High School Interact Club, the backpack program, tutoring, the scholarship committee, Golden’s Mayor’s Awards Ceremony, and club program chair. He served for three years on the Tony Grampsas Youth Service Board, with two years as Chairman. On the Tony Grampsas Board, Steve oversaw the distribution of millions of dollars in funding for youth prevention programs. He serves on the Golden Community Commons Board, which has overseen the use and re-development of the Armory Building in Golden. He is active in his church, Calvary Episcopal, in Golden, where he serves as an usher, and for twenty years was a counter one Sunday a month. He also regularly serves as a volunteer for the St. Francis Center in Denver, providing services to the homeless.
In his free time, Steve is an active runner and has completed eleven marathons and many shorter races and triathlons. He enjoys fishing, hiking, cross-country skiing, snow shoeing, and playing cards and games.