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.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Bid To Repeal Ends In The Senate

A bill that would have repealed capital punishment and used the savings to fund cold-case investigations failed this afternoon in the Senate on a 18-17 vote.  Joining all 14 Republicans in opposing the measure were Democrats Mary Hodge of Brighton, Jim Isgar of Hesperus, John Morse of Colorado Springs, and Lois Tochtrop of Thornton.

A conference committee earlier in the day put a ban on the death penalty back into the bill, setting up their colleagues for politically tricky votes on the controversial topic on the final day of the session.

The House in April passed by one vote the original version of House Bill 1274, which would have ended capital punishment and used the savings to build a cold-case task force within the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

The Senate, which had not voted the death-penalty proposal up or down, earlier this week took out the death-penalty ban and instead implemented a $2.50 fee on anyone convicted of a traffic, misdemeanor or felony offense to pay for grants to local police jurisdictions.

In his first comments on the bill, Gov. Bill Ritter said today that he thought the death penalty should not have been tied to funding cold cases.

"Those are two separate issues, and I told the sponsor of the bill they were wrong to do that," he said. "You don't get a pure debate about either."

The governor, who previously served as district attorney in Denver, had been criticized for not saying where he stood on the bill.

Ritter, a Democrat, pointed out that his predecessor, Republican Bill Owens, at times was silent on big issues. "You wait it out, and you let the debate happen because you can so influence a very important debate," he said.

Ritter also pointed out that the bill had changed three times in three days, including the Senate stripping the death-penalty provision.

As it was introduced, HB 1274 by House Majority Leader Paul Weissmann, D-Louisville, and Sen. Morgan Carroll, D-Aurora, would end capital punishment and use the savings to solve cold cases.

Critics said the anti-death-penalty bill sponsors were gambling with funding for cold cases.

"You're prepared to lose this bill and get no new funding for cold cases, rather than accept what was a bipartisan compromise?" Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry asked Carroll.

Carroll argued that disbursing money through grants to local jurisdictions alone, as the Senate version would have done, would not adequately address the 1,434 unsolved homicide cases piling up in Colorado.

How they voted

How state senators voted this afternoon on a committee report on House Bill 1274:

Bob Bacon, D-Fort Collins, Y

Betty Boyd, D-Lakewood, Y

Greg Brophy, R-Wray, N

Bill Cadman, R-Colo. Spring, N

Morgan Carroll, D-Aurora, Y

Joyce Foster, D-Denver, Y

Dan Gibbs, D-Silverthorne, Y

Peter Groff, D-Denver, Y

Ted Harvey, R-Highlands Ranch, N

Rollie Heath, D-Boulder, Y

Mary Hodge, D-Brighton, N

Evie Hudak, D-Westminster, Y

Jim Isgar, D-Hesperus, N

Moe Keller, D-Wheat Ridge, Y

Ken Kester, R-Las Animas, N

Keith King, R-Colo. Springs, N

Mike Kopp, R-Littleton, N

Kevin Lundberg, R-Berthoud, N

Shawn Mitchell, R-Broomfield, N

John Morse, D-Colorado Springs, N

Linda Newell, D- Littleton, Y

Josh Penry, R-Grand Junction, N

Scott Renfroe, R-Greeley, N

Chris Romer, D-Denver, Y

Paula Sandoval, D-Denver, Y

Mark Scheffel, R-Parker, N

David Schultheis, R-Colorado Springs, N

Gail Schwartz, D-Snowmass Village, Y

Brandon Shaffer, D-Longmont, Y

Nancy Spence, R-Centennial, N

Abel Tapia, D-Pueblo, Y

Lois Tochtrop, D-Thornton, N

Jennifer Veiga, D-Denver, Y

Al White, R-Hayden, N

Suzanne Williams, D-Aurora, Y 


Anonymous said...

Okay. I'll make this one comment.

It is obvious that comments from the readers are becoming less and less. These articles are being read, for certain. It is not apathy that withdraws the reader, it is something far more subtle, yet building like a volcano. It's frustration, aggravation, anger, and knowing that the SERVANTS in politics don't give a damn about Coloradans or justice in general.

It is true that there are many ignorant and (though I don't like using the word) stupid people who are for the death penalty. These uneducated ones know nothing about the judicial system and the corruption it and the law brings. Those of us involved with CDOC and the practice of filling bed space for profit know the truth. Our incarcerated loved ones and our families suffer.

Since Colorado executioners (not the people) have decided to uphold the death penalty, let it be known that due to the immense flaws in the system, there are innocent people that are on death row in many states. Colorado just showed its arrogant ass by joining forces with sadistic practices. I'll bet the majority that voted in favor of death proudly and hypocritically proclaim they are pro-life. BULL-SH!T!

If sadism were a law, the majority of politicians would be on death row as I type.

CCJRC, people are silent because those who are appointed to bring about compassionate reform and rehabilitation choose to remain on the side of profit and personal political gain. Reform, or the death conviction of an innocent is of no consequence to them. Personally, I find this attitude not only hypocritical, but also callous lacking in conscience.

Colorado is out of control. People need to vote those numbers (below) out. It's an educated guess, but I'm willing to bet Ritter made it clear that death will continue, and he can play God, or else careers were on the line! That is the reason (excuse?) for the close votes. Another smokescreen to appease both sides knowing well in advance what the outcome would be. This is not an unreasonable speculation considering that Ritter is a former (present?) prosecutor that has always been in favor of death.

Duplicitous and nefarious.

Comments anyone?


Anonymous said...

All I know is that I am going to campaign against everyone one of them in the next election.

Anonymous said...