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, July 03, 2008

DA's and Defenders Try To Lock In Evidence Rules

Prosecutors, lawmakers, law enforcement officers and the state public defender haggled Wednesday over how to implement a sweeping new law that requires DNA evidence be preserved to guard against wrongful convictions.

The law requires evidence in serious cases, such as murder or a sex crime carrying a life sentence, to be preserved for the life of the defendant, but it also casts a broad net over "any evidence that may contain DNA" in all other cases. Cops and prosecutors say they are unclear on the rules for identifying and eventually disposing of that evidence, leaving them fearing evidence overflow.

"Everyone is having a challenging time implementing this statute," Adams County District Attorney Don Quick said Wednesday at a meeting of several state officials trying to come to an agreement on how to implement the law.

Tensions over its implementation came to a boil this week. State public defender Doug Wilson said prosecutors in many jurisdictions have been including evidence-preservation waivers in their plea agreements, meaning defendants looking to plead guilty to a lesser charge must also consent to having evidence that might later prove their innocence destroyed.

The vast majority of criminal cases are settled by plea deal.

"My catch," Wilson said at Wednesday's meeting, where he was the only defense attorney, "is you guys conditioning pleas on us signing the waiver."

Scott Storey, the Jefferson County district attorney, said the plea deals were not meant to extort preservation waivers but to get ahead of a possible tide of evidence swamping storage rooms. Storey said Wednesday that his office will no longer include such waivers in its plea deals.

The Denver Post


Anonymous said...

No worries here. Sgt Gale Franklin, in charge of the Denver County Sheriff's office evidence room destroys all evidence on all cases and will pull a gun on you if you question him about it!

Anonymous said...

If a defendant requests a jury trial in a criminal case, the DA nor the judge should be allowed to offer a plea agreement, and the DA should have nothing to say about DNA preservation. Should be mandantory. If Denver would utilize a real grand jury to determine if a case exists it would stop people like DA Joe Morales from bringing false charges. If DNA is destroyed the defendent should automatically walk. That would stop those who carry a badge from destroying the evidence. djw

Anonymous said...

djw. I'm in full agreement. Those who carry a badge and destroy evidence are committing a criminal act. It does not appear to ruffle any judicial/CDOC feathers.

Do some research on Clarence Moses. This is a man who has spent much of his life in prison because a woman had a DREAM about him! This was not even as concrete (!) as circumstantial evidence. Complete BS.

As I continue to say, illegal is legal in Colorado for those in the inner circles.

The people of this state had better wake up to their biased, ignorant faith in the system.

NEXT ! ! !

steve said...

Well to quote about this article is that this practice must be stopped anyway or the other as the matter of fact it is not bearable in Colorado too but what can you do against the surroundings...
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Anonymous said...