Gov. Bill Ritter on Thursday fulfilled defense lawyer predictions and vetoed legislation that would have allowed judges to require violent teen offenders to be tried as juveniles instead of adults in some cases.
The veto of House Bill 1208 leaves in place a system that allows prosecutors to determine whether teen felons should face adult prisons and penalties of up to 40 years behind bars.
"I believe HB 1208 would alter a system that has not been shown to be defective," said Ritter, a former Denver district attorney who helped craft the current law in 1993. Current policies "have adequately and fairly addressed the problems that beset our state in 1993."
The tougher stance on teen crime followed the so-called "Summer of Violence," where several bystanders, including young children, were injured or killed by gang-related gunfire.
Critics say that district attorneys have too much discretion in how teens are charged.
The Denver Post