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April 18, 2007

CBA Criminal Sentencing Project Meeting Minutes from April 18, 2007.

Charlie Garcia, Chief Public Defender 
Sean McAllister, Solo Practitioner  
Ken Plotz, Senior District Judge  
Brian Vicente, Committee organizer 
Mike Krauss, Independence Institute 
Jeri Shepard, Public DefenderGreg Long, Chief Deputy DA, 2nd Judicial District
Professor Robert Hardaway, DU Law
Edilth Haak, Certified Addiction Counselor, Denver Behavioral Health
Sandy Mullins, E.D. Colorado Criminal Defense Bar
Lonn Heymann, Solo Practitioner

Presentation by Greg Long


Issues Discussed

i.  History of Drug Courts in Colorado.  Denver Drug Court was 4th in the country.   

ii.  Drug Courts effective if involve tight supervision, quick penalties, consistent interactions with the same judge/magistrate.  Teaching life skills such as “basic decision making” is essential. 

iii.  Jail should be last resort for many drug offenders.  Courts often too quick to impose felonies.  Many offenders are unnecessarily saddled with felonies records making it difficult to find employment, housing, schools, etc.  
 iv.  Treatment can be effective for many people.  Court-ordered treatment is thought to be as effective as voluntary treatment.  Need more evidence-based data on treatment results.

v.  New Drug Courts in Denver will differ from old model.  Magistrates will run new Drug Courts.  New Courts will not accept every drug case, and will not be open to either violent drug users or non-addicted occasional users.

Sentencing Commission Update

i.  Bill appears to be moving forward and is very likely to become law.  Committee members expressed concern over having Commission housed in DOC.  Commission will be given 18 months to set up and bring forth recommendations.

Website Discussion

i.  Group has active website.  Additions and comments are encouraged.  A link to Washington State’s Institute on Public Policy is suggested.  Professor Hardaway has articles to link.


i.   Legal-  legal outreach is continuing.  Suggestion to meet with past Bar presidents to gauge interest.

ii.  Medical-  Ms. Haak suggested meeting with NIDA.  She will send contact info.

iii.  Religious-  Lonn Heymann had connections among African American Minister groups.  This outreach is important given the often disparate impact on communities of color.  Suggestion of outreach to Paul Burlson of Ministerial Alliance.  Also opportunity to give presentation to that group.  Further outreach to Hispanic and Jewish communities suggested.  Tim Dorr, Executive Director of Colorado Council of Bishops, is suggested.  Also outreach to the Iliff Theology school. 

iv.  General-  Outreach to “Minority Over-representation Committee” of State judicial department.  Also get statistics from Inter-agency Drug Task Force.”

Drug Policy Recommendations

i.  Group- led by Vicente and Mike Krause- are continuing to examine Colorado’s drug policies and hope to make recommendations for legislative change this summer.  Comments and research help are welcome.


i.  Group is interested in hosting an event in June/July.  Speakers to include Washington State Legislator and E.D. of King County Bar Association Drug Policy Project, Roger Goodman.  Format yet to be determined, likely a CLE.  Should target influential audience including individuals from Gov. Ritter’s staff, Probation, and DOC.  Event should highlight Washington state’s successes.

Continuing Education

i.  Suggestions for future speakers to the group include Regina Huerter (Crime Prevention and Control Committee), Janet Wood (NIDA), a representative from the Boulder PACE program, and a representative from DOC who can explain their published statistics.   

Next Steps

i.  Future meetings to occur on 3rd Wednesday of each month.  Next meeting on May 16th. 

ii.  Adjourn