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

Western Slope Loses Defender of the Poor

Greg Greer is all about defense.

He defends people accused of crimes who can't afford attorneys. He has helped coach the defense for Glenwood Springs High School's football team.

He's leaving the position of chief public defender for the Glenwood Springs region after 20 years in the office, but will still be a defender.

"I think in addition to being a good trial lawyer and wonderful friend, he is one of the strongest lawyers our system has ever had," said Ann Aber, training director for Colorado's public defenders. She's known Greer for 17 years.

"I really feel like poor people in Colorado are losing one of their most tireless champions," Aber said.

Today was planned to be his last day as public defender. He's starting a solo private practice, Greer Law Firm PC, in which he'll continue his 25-year dedication to criminal defense work. Greer said the State Public Defender's Office is bringing on someone new to replace him but he didn't want to say too much about it.

Some people say it's demanding, working in a public defender's office and handling 80 to 100 open cases at any time. Greer calls it a luxury.

"As a public defender, you can dedicate yourself solely to the practice of law," he said. Public defenders get lots of serious felony trial experience and can focus on developing their criminal defense strategies, he added.

"The government is dangerous and someone needs to be that check," he said. "It's just exposure to the need to protect people against the extraordinary power of police and prosecution," he said.

But he said he's eligible for retirement at 50, after 20 years at the Glenwood office, and he wanted a change.

"I'm looking forward to giving the kind of detailed attention that private practice will allow," Greer said.

Glenwood Springs Independent

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