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.
The appointment of Monica Marquez to the Colorado Supreme Court moves the state past a couple of ethnic and sexual-orientation milestones.
But as he pondered his choice among three qualified candidates, history wasn't important to Gov. Bill Ritter.
"It is not because Monica is a Latina or because she is gay," he said. "I chose her because of her analytical ability and her keen intellect."
On Wednesday, as Ritter announced that Marquez — currently deputy Colorado attorney general — would become the state's next Supreme Court justice, the Capitol erupted in cheers from her colleagues and family.
"I look forward to serving the state of Colorado in this new capacity, and I promise to bring an exceptional work ethic, a collaborative spirit, an open mind and a reverence for the rule of law," Marquez said.
Marquez, 41, a native of Grand Junction, attended Stanford University and earned her undergraduate degree in political science in 1991.
For two years, she worked with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps with at-risk kids in Camden, N.J., and Philadelphia.
In 1997, she earned her law degree at Yale, where she was an editor of the law journal.
Marquez is accustomed to seeing barriers — real or perceived — fall before her family. Her father, retired Judge Jose D.L. Marquez, was the first Latino appointed to the Colorado Court of Appeals.
Ritter said he chose Marquez after reading her legal scholarship and becoming certain during his interview with her that she would uphold and respect the rule of law. He was not deterred by her lack of judicial experience.
Ritter said that five of the seven judges now on the court did not have prior judicial experience and that he doesn't consider it a prerequisite for the job.
Ritter picked Marquez over Colorado Court of Appeals Judge Robert Russel and 4th Judicial District Judge David Prince. The governor said Russel and Prince were qualified and noted it was a tough decision because all of them were exceptional nominees.