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.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Judges As Prosecutors: How Far Is Too Far

LA Times

By DeeDee Correll
August 3, 2009
Reporting from Denver -- In Colorado, judges don't simply have the power to send people to prison.

In rare circumstances, they can also decide whether a person should be charged as a criminal -- a rarely invoked authority upon which two cases now hinge.

Under a 19th century state law, obscure until recently, two judges have been asked to decide whether four men should be tried in rape and murder cases.

The first case involves the 2000 alleged sexual assault of a Denver-area teenager, who initially did not want to pursue charges. When Julie Stene wanted to go to court several years later, the district attorney did not.

Stene won a startling victory against Arapahoe County Dist. Atty. Carol Chambers in May when a judge ordered a special prosecutor appointed and charges filed against the two suspected assailants. The judge has since softened that stance, ordering a new prosecutor to investigate and decide whether to press charges.

In a second case, in rural Chaffee County, a sheriff and coroner are seeking to use the same law to force Dist. Atty. Thom LeDoux to try a murder case that he believes is not provable.

Both cases have stirred debate over prosecutorial power and prompted a challenge of the law's constitutionality.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What has happened to the grand jury system?? Doesnt Colorado practice the use of grand jurys. Why would you folks want to leave it up to a prosecutor to decide or a judge? No wonder the prisons are so full in Colorado! djw