Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

District Attorneys Need Character

Most of us felt relieved when we learned that Mike Nifong, the rogue district attorney from Durham, N.C., was facing serious charges for his abuse of power in the Duke University lacrosse case. However, the search for justice does not end when a single corrupt prosecutor is caught and removed.

The sad truth is that the list of prosecutors who have put pride and politics ahead of justice is longer than any of us would like to believe. Last year, Bob Herbert of the New York Times chronicled quite a list of just such occurrences. He concluded that analysis by pointing to the government's "pervasive indifference to injustice in the justice system." Those are harsh words, but he reached that conclusion only after pointing to innocent people unnecessarily going to prison and much more.

We must be certain that the district attorneys we elect possess unimpeachable character because the reality is that we place a special burden on the government, those who prosecute cases for all of us, to be sure that all of their investigations are thorough, that confessions are not coerced, that lineups are done correctly, that forensic testing is accurate and that those test results are readily shared.

All prosecutors must also be confident that the witnesses they call (law enforcement people, experts, snitches, eye witnesses, etc.) are competent and honest. And, unlike Nifong, we expect them to be ready to admit a mistake and change directions the moment contradictory facts emerge.

Unfortunately, some honest-appearing prosecutors with latent character flaws suffer a lapse when they are driven by a zeal to win, political ambition or pride in wrongly holding to an announced position.

Opinion Greeley Tribune


Anonymous said...

We ran into a public defender in Boulder County who was too busy running to be a judge than to do her cases. Each time my friend's case came up, in 5 months, she never showed up. Another PD, who did not know the case details, would end up reading through the file for 5 minutes, then postponing the case. I complained to her supervisor and got every excuse in the book except for the truth. The judge in his case, even though a rehab was found, at the last minute, sentenced him to 4 years in DOC and, at age 19, he tried to commit suicide from the attacks he suffered at Limon. He then got sentenced to 18 months more time. She promised him, after the 5 month s of waiting, that if he pled guilty that she would find him a rehab. What a waste of human life.

Anonymous said...

I have seen so many cases where the DA is set on winning a case only to make him self famous that he does not even think of the lives he is ruining. I know of a young man who was involved in an accident and we all know the reason being the sun in his eyes but they managed to prove him quilty and this young man had never been in the system once his whole life. Then he has a confrontation with his girl, no violence at all and she even stated to DA she did not want this to go further but this DA, one from the first case insisted on bogus charges against this young man and now he has more added to his record and it is just so sad because he had a future, he was a full time student and working full time and doing everything he was made to do from the first case. Another one added to their belts!!