ALAMOSA COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — FOX31 has obtained complaints that were found to have a “basis in fact” that detail the specific conduct of the 12th Judicial District Attorney’s Office in the San Luis Valley.

This comes after Attorney General Phil Weiser investigated the office and found District Attorney Alonzo Payne and his office engaged in a pattern and practice of violating the Victims Rights Act. The AG’s office has entered a three-year agreement with the DA’s office to make sure it no longer violates victims’ rights.

FOX31 has reported one victim’s perspective, Lani Welch, who said she was a victim of domestic violence, assault and stalking back in 2020. Welch told FOX31’s Courtney Fromm that Payne was dismissive and disrespectful to her when going through the legal process.

Through the Colorado Open Records Act, FOX31 has reviewed complaints submitted to the Crime Victim Services Advisory Board, which found a basis in fact in all the complaints and referred them to the attorney general for an investigation.

Allegations of not being treated with dignity and respect

One allegation surrounded a vehicular homicide case in November of 2019, where the defendant was driving 100 miles per hour on Highway 17, and caused a deadly wreck that killed a woman.

The victim’s family was initially contacted in June of 2020 but did not receive further communication from the district attorney’s office until January 2021.

During a meeting to discuss a plea agreement, the victim’s family said Assistant District Attorney Alex Raines “was defensive about their concerns,” yelled at the family, and stormed out of the room. The victim’s family said “we left their office feeling like they just wanted to get this case off their desk,” and “the District Attorney mishandled this case and should have notified us before breaking this deal with the defendant.”

Another allegation details a domestic violence case from March of 2021, where an ex-husband went into his ex-wife’s home and stole her dog out of the kennel. The man was on probation for a domestic violence case involving her and there was a protection order in place.

The man pleaded guilty to a violation of the protection order and second-degree trespassing, both misdemeanors, despite being charged with felonies like extortion.

The ex-wife claims she was not consulted about a plea deal and expressed this in open court.

The next month, the victim met with Raines and a victim advocate. According to the victim, Raines showed up 40 minutes late to the meeting wearing basketball shorts and a T-shirt. He didn’t introduce himself or apologize for being late.

When the victim explained how she wasn’t happy with the plea deal that was discussed, Raines reportedly started yelling “clearly you don’t understand the law!” and “You think that you are entitled! We don’t work for or represent you!”

The exchange continued as Raines reportedly shouted the reason for dropping the felonies was lack of evidence, and blamed law enforcement, saying it was “not the DA’s problem.”

The meeting ended with Raines shouting at the victim after she asked to speak with his supervisor to get out of his office.

The victim said in the complaint “I have never in my life been treated with such disrespect. It was appalling! The victim advocate was also very noticeably uncomfortable. I have no idea where all of this hostility came from.”

Allegations of lack of communication with victims

In February of 2021, an assault case led the 12th Judicial District Attorney’s Office to file charges against a man for second-degree assault, causing serious bodily injury.

A caller reported to local law enforcement a woman was unable to open her eyes in her house that was “torn up badly.” She was taken to the hospital in Denver and was treated for a fractured hip, defensive wounds on her hands, and bruising from hand prints on her forearms.

The DA’s office dismissed the case without prejudice on April 1, 2021.

The family claimed they were not provided with their right to consult with prosecutors about how the case was going to be handled.

According to the complaint, the victim’s family reached out to victim advocate Victoria Chavez on April 1 to make sure the DA’s office received a victim impact statement and other documents. They left messages for Alonzo Payne but did not hear back.

Two weeks later, the family called again, concerned that the family wasn’t consulted about the case being dismissed, and still didn’t understand why. On April 19, nearly three weeks after the case was dismissed, Chavez told the family the case was dismissed because there wasn’t enough evidence to prosecute.

The family claims they never spoke directly to Payne for the case.