Resources for victims of crime. The socioeconomic, racial, ethnic and geographic diversity of the district presents significant challenges for the criminal justice system to ensure fair and equitable treatment of all who interact with it. All crime victims within the borders of the district, regardless of their country of origin or immigration status, should have an expectation that they will be treated fairly, and with dignity and respect.
- A community engagement office. I will appoint a team to focus on outreach to – and education of – our diverse and underserved communities about access to justice. This team will also serve as the “ears” of the District Attorney’s office and will conduct regular listening tours into underserved or at-risk communities. I will immediately establish -and continue- a dialogue with community leaders aimed at restoring confidence and trust in the District Attorney’s office and its objectives.
- Bias-motivated crimes and exploitation. As the prosecution support for the community engagement team, this team will investigate crimes involving bias and exploitation of community members based on the victim’s actual or perceived race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, physical or mental disability, or sexual orientation. These prosecutors and victim advocates will serve as champions for our most vulnerable and marginalized communities and will be their voice in the criminal justice system until they are able to use their own.
- Family justice center. Expanding our One Place program which provides a convenient, one-stop location for victims of intimate crime at which all necessary resource and treatment providers are available. We will replicate the already successful program at multiple locations throughout the 18th Judicial District.
A progressive approach to crime and punishment. Understanding that real public safety requires lasting change, the District Attorney’s office must be a community leader in collaborative criminal justice reform. This approach requires efficiency in the use of finite resources and a necessary focus on education, prevention, and diversion of non-violent adult and juvenile offenders.
- Building safer communities. Interrupting the cycle of recidivism requires local law enforcement agencies to work together with the various stakeholders in the criminal and juvenile justice systems. The District Attorney’s office will engage in this proactive approach, as traditional reactive prosecution methods have proven ineffective and perpetuate disparities based on relative wealth, race, culture and geography. The District Attorney must play a role in reducing the incarceration of people based on race, poverty, mental illness, and substance abuse. The benefit of diverting many away from pre and post-trial incarceration will be the ability to have a resolute focus on keeping the most dangerous offenders away from our most vulnerable populations.
- Problem solving courts. A shift in philosophy requires an increased reliance on non-traditional sentencing options. While always keeping public safety a program priority, my office will continue its active role in the 18th Judicial District’s recovery, mental health, veteran’s treatment, and DUI courts.
- Conviction review unit. We will continue to review any claims of actual innocence, and I will expand the case review to include sentences which demonstrate an exceptionally harsh result and a possible inappropriate use of prosecutorial discretion.
- Keeping kids out of the system. There are consistent risk factors we know tend to lead our kids to reoffend and become part of the adult criminal justice system. We know that kids who are already in the child welfare system are disproportionately incarcerated. We also know children of color are disproportionately represented in the juvenile justice system, and that kids who are incarcerated (even on low level property offenses, drug offenses, or technical violations of juvenile probation) tend to reoffend and end up back in the system or in detention. We also know that juveniles who are incarcerated end up breaking ties with their schools, families, and lose stable housing so that reentry is very difficult. All of these risk factors should be considered when deciding if a juvenile will be entered into the system at all, and if so, what type of sentence they receive.
- Juvenile justice consortium. A group focused on the disparate treatment of juveniles across socioeconomic, racial, and geographical boundaries, to which the DA’s office will lend its resources and expertise to identify critical intervention points before a juvenile’s entry into the justice system. This group will work collaboratively to educate and safely divert youth from justice system entanglement through progressive methods, including restorative justice as a part of pre and post-filing diversion.
- Juvenile mental health task force. This group will be a collective of law enforcement, school, and mental health professionals tasked with identifying common crisis points for at risk adolescents with a goal of eradicating the hopelessness and alienation that leads to suicide and other forms of violence.
A diverse and experienced team. An experienced and dynamic team of prosecutors, other criminal justice professionals, and advocates is necessary to meet the needs of our diverse community. While many times the just result in a case does not involve a trial, the various prosecution teams in my office will continue to consist of the best trial lawyers and prosecution support professionals in the state. To achieve true justice each role player must be exceptional in their field. Each prosecution team will assess every aspect of the crime, its effect on the victim and the community, and the particular characteristics of each offender to design a course of action to achieve justice in each case.
- Human trafficking and special victims. We will continue as Colorado’s leader in prosecution of human trafficking and child sex and exploitation crimes. Using vertical prosecution methods and specialized prosecutors and investigators, we will continue to work with the Sungate child advocacy center to protect our most vulnerable population and aggressively pursue offenders who target children and other vulnerable populations.
- Domestic violence and sex assault units. Maintaining these units will continue to be a priority. My office will work to achieve true prosecution to minimize the anxiety the system causes to the survivors of these intimate and devastating crimes. We will continue to use state witness protection resources to provide safe housing and access to other services during the pendency of these volatile cases. Most importantly, the teams will focus on the trauma recovery process, so survivors can ultimately feel empowered, safe, and independent.
- Vehicular felony prosecution and community training team. We will continue the on-call vehicular felony team response, which provides immediate legal and investigative assistance to local law enforcement in these very complex cases. I will expand this program’s impact into alcohol-related education, bringing the message to our kids in local middle and high schools.
- Major drug crimes and DTO prosecution. Using the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act, in coordination with local and federal law enforcement agencies, I will continue to aggressively pursue drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) who wreak havoc on our communities for profit. I will expand the existing major drug crime unit to provide resources to track suppliers (whether corporations or individuals) of deadly opioids who flout the law or recklessly pursue profit without regard to public health and safety consequences.
- Innovation. A modern prosecution office must be more innovative, proactive and collaborative to establish necessary professional relationships with schools and family and public health agencies.
- Expertise. A team of specialized subject matter experts in various areas of prosecution, juvenile justice, and victim support is necessary in a modern prosecution office determined to make a lasting impact on public safety.
- Results. These teams will reach collaborative solutions to identify larger problems, such as teen hopelessness and depression, roots of gun violence, causes of mass incarceration, substance abuse, and predatory behavior aimed at our most vulnerable communities.