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.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Inmate's Hope For Dignity Unlocked

The Denver Post

nmates at Limon Correctional Facility spent much of last week under lockdown.

So, it wasn't until three days after a court ruling that one of them, Tim Kennedy, learned he is free of two life sentences.

Kennedy's lawyers and sister had tried letting him know his convictions were overturned. They waited for his regular calls. But the prisonwide lockdown kept him from getting messages and phoning.

Word of his appeal victory Tuesday finally got through Friday when a fellow worker in the prison's maintenance shop heard about the order in the news.

"I almost fell over. It was total elation," Kennedy said later that morning. "This is, hands down, the best day of my life."

Kennedy, 52, has served 13 years behind bars for a double murder he says he didn't commit. The El Paso County district attorney's office used key suspects — who had never met Kennedy — as witnesses against him.

He doesn't dispute that the gun believed to have been used to kill Jennifer Carpenter and Steve Staskiewicz in 1991 likely was one he lent his two friends for self-protection. The couple was hiding out in their trailer, fearing threats on their lives as Carpenter prepared to testify against a man and woman who had raped her months earlier.

We've written that DNA testing excludes Kennedy from key pieces of evidence at the scene.

We've detailed the sorry performance of his trial lawyer, a man to whom Kennedy's late father paid his life savings.

We've reported

on how the sheriff's investigator now works in the prison system and dispatched a colleague to apparently intimidate Charles Stroud — one of Carpenter's rapists and a suspect in the murders — from testifying at Kennedy's appeal.

And we've covered how DAs withheld a letter from Stroud to Rebecca Corkins, codefendant in Jenny's rape. Both were in jail at the time of the murders and have said they wanted to silence testimony against them.