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, March 01, 2010

Denver's voter initiative does little to curb marijuana citations - The Denver Post

Denver's voter initiative does little to curb marijuana citations - The Denver Post

More than two years after Denver voters approved a measure making minor marijuana crimes the city's lowest law-enforcement priority, city officials continue to prosecute marijuana cases at a steady clip.

Denver city attorneys last year prosecuted 1,696 cases in which possession of less than an ounce of marijuana was at least one of the charges.

In 2008, 1,658 cases were prosecuted. In 2006 — the year before the initiative was approved — prosecutors handled 1,841 marijuana cases.

Police citations for possession of small amounts of marijuana continue unabated as well. Figures for citations and prosecutions were released last week at a meeting of the city's Marijuana Policy Review Panel.

The continued enforcement has frustrated some members of the panel, which was created by the voter initiative to implement the new law.

"Police should not be spending any time arresting and citing people for marijuana," said Mason Tvert, who runs the pro-marijuana-legalization group SAFER and is a member of the panel. "Voters do not want them to issue those citations."

Denver prosecutors, meanwhile, say their hands are tied in the marijuana cases because they are bound in those cases to follow state law, not local law.

Vince DiCroce, who is the director of the Denver city attorney's prosecution section and a panel member, said city attorneys — who ordinarily prosecute violations of city ordinance — act as special district attorneys when prosecuting marijuana crimes, which are charged as violations of separate state law. Because of that, DiCroce said, prosecutors don't take into account the voter initiative when pursuing cases.

"The local ordinances don't apply to the state laws," DiCroce said.

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