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.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

AG's Office Drowing In Appeals

The Denver Post

Colorado's attorney general's office is drowning in appeals cases.

At the end of May, the office's appellate division had 374 cases pending. That's about 150 more than at the same time last year. And, with an expected surge in end-of-the-fiscal-year appeals, the office will likely end June with more cases pending than at any time in its history.

The backlog means the attorney general's office — which handles all post-conviction appeals cases in Colorado — is in triage mode. Some cases get quick responses instead of the in-depth replies the office would prefer. Others take longer to bring to a conclusion.

"Everybody would like to see these cases move through the system more quickly," said Catherine Adkisson, head of the AG's appellate division.

The AG's office could not immediately provide examples of noteworthy cases affected by the delay.

The number of appeals cases coming in month-to-month hasn't changed dramatically from years past, according to state figures.

Instead, the problem, Adkisson said, is one of staffing. The office has fewer attorneys now than it did seven years ago — the result of past economic downturns and budget cuts. Current state budget problems make it unlikely the office will be able to expand anytime soon.

Almost all the cases the office handles are ones where someone has been convicted and is appealing. In those situations, the attorney general's office represents the state, normally arguing that the conviction be upheld.

About a third of the appellants in those cases are represented by the state public defender's office, another third are represented by private attorneys and the last third represent themselves.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good! I am glad to see people exercising their right to appeal especially if it was a wrongful conviction. And we all know that Tim Masters cannot be the only innocent person exonerated!