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Vekos apologizes, returns to work

ADDISON COUNTY — Addison County State’s Attorney Eva Vekos is back on the job and apologizing for an email she sent to law enforcement leaders after her arrest for driving under the influence, in which she said she didn’t feel safe around police and disparaged their intelligence.

Vekos had gone on paid medical leave on Feb. 9, a little more than two weeks after she was arrested on the drunken driving charge for allegedly showing up impaired to the scene of a suspicious death investigation in Bridport.

Days after her arrest, Vekos engaged in an email exchange with law enforcement leaders in Addison County in which she wrote that she no longer felt safe around law enforcement and would not meet with them in person, only on video.

She also mockingly challenged the grammatical skills of police in that email exchange.

Vekos, in a press release issued Sunday, said she had taken leave “to reflect upon this major event, its impact on me personally and professionally, and its impact upon the Community.” She announced she was returning to work, effective immediately, and returned to the courtroom to prosecute cases on Monday.

She said the earlier email she sent to law enforcement leaders didn’t reflect her “true feelings, which include a profound respect for the hard work and dedication of uniformed and other police officials who work so tirelessly to promote our safety,” and that she had reached out to law enforcement leaders in the county to try to repair the relationship.

“I also write to express my deep regret for the email that I sent to the law enforcement chiefs and Sheriff,” she said. “It was insulting, hurtful and unkind.”

In an interview on Tuesday, John Campbell, executive director of the Vermont Department of State’s Attorneys and Sheriffs, said it would be “critical” for Vekos to work to restore her relationship with law enforcement in Addison County.

“I hope that she does reach out and that she is able to mend those fences,” Campbell said. “I know that in hearing from members of law enforcement they were very upset.”

Addison County Sheriff Michael Elmore said law enforcement leaders are set to meet with Vekos on April 4.

Asked if he thought law enforcement’s relationship with Vekos could be repaired, Elmore replied, “I’d like to see and hear more from her before I could say for sure, but to me there’s always going to be a thing in the back of my mind that she’s already done this to us once, will it happen again if we don’t do something she agrees with?”

A group of Addison County residents were not impressed.  County residents Ryan Emilio and Danielle Hill on Tuesday reached out to Addison County State Sens. Chris Bray and Ruth Hardy asking them to start the impeachment process that would remove Vekos from office. They included a petition, dated Feb. 1, that seeks Vekos’s impeachment. It includes nearly 500 signers that were gathered electronically at change.org.

In part, the petition says Vekos “has displayed a high level of incompetence. This includes but is not limited to 1. Extremely poor time management skills resulting in sentencing delays and wasting taxpayers money. 2. Lack of legal and case knowledge. 3. Ineffective courtroom practice.”

The Independent on Feb. 15 published an extensive article detailing complaints about her performance made by some of those she’s represented in recent court cases.

Vekos did not return an email message Monday from the Independent seeking further comment.

She was elected to her first four-year term as Addison County state’s attorney in November 2022.

The driving under the influence charge against Vekos stems from her arrest on the night of Jan. 25, when police allege she showed up at the scene of a death investigation smelling of alcohol and slurring her speech. She also refused to take a breath test and was then processed on the misdemeanor charge.

She pleaded not guilty to the charge Feb. 12 and was released on her own recognizance.  The case will be heard in Chittenden County Superior criminal court in Burlington to avoid any potential conflicts of interest and is being prosecuted by the state Attorney General’s Office.

The next hearing in the case is set for May 8, according to court records.

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Complete text of Eva Vekos’s March 3 Memo to the Addison County Community and Various Media Outlets:

Greetings to all:

Following my arrest in late January 2024, I stepped back from my work to reflect upon this major event, its impact on me personally and professionally, and its impact upon the community. After this break, I write to announce that I have now fully returned to my job.

I also write to express my deep regret for the email that I sent to the law enforcement chiefs and Sheriff. It was insulting, hurtful and unkind. That email does not at all reflect my true feelings, which include a profound respect for the hard work and dedication of uniformed and other police officials who work so tirelessly to promote our safety. I intend to fully restore my professional and productive working relationship with law enforcement. To further that effort, I have reached out to the chiefs and Sheriff of Addison County and scheduled a meeting in the coming weeks where I will personally express my apology.

My performance as State’s Attorney in the past fourteen months has been guided by my belief in social justice, my compassion for all people, and decades of experience and training as a legal professional in the area of criminal and juvenile justice. Being a defendant in a criminal case brings me an unwelcome but important understanding of what the accused experience in our criminal legal system as well.

Now that I have returned from my leave, I will execute my duties to the best of my ability as State’s Attorney for Addison County through the remainder of my term.

With peace and gratitude,

Eva

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