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.
Christopher Bartkowicz walked out of a federal courtroom in handcuffs Thursday after pleading guilty to drug charges stemming from a raid on his medical-marijuana-growing operation.
In what is believed to be the first federal conviction of a medical-marijuana grower in Colorado, Bartkowicz, 37, pleaded guilty to three counts related to the operation, which he ran from his Highlands Ranch home and showed to a television news crew just before his arrest.
Under an agreement with prosecutors, Bartkowicz is expected to receive five years in prison and a fine when he is sentenced. If the judge does not accept that sentence, Bartkowicz can change his plea again and go to trial.
"That sentence is appropriate and proportionate given the circumstances of this specific crime," U.S. Attorney John Walsh said in a statement following the hearing.
Bartkowicz did not comment when entering the federal courthouse before the hearing but said he would make a statement once the hearing was over. However, Judge Philip Brimmer, at the prosecution's urging, ordered Bartkowicz to be detained at the end of the hearing.
Bartkowicz's attorney, Joseph Saint-Veltri, protested, saying immediate detention wasn't part of the agreement and suggesting the prosecution had ulterior motives for Bartkowicz's detention. Afterward, Saint-Veltri declined to comment other than to hint that Bartkowicz's statement to the media wouldn't have been kind to the Drug Enforcement Administration.