Spotlight on De'Von Bailey Homicide
No one disputes that police officers do difficult, dangerous and important work. And everyone agrees that criminal activity should be investigated. But Coloradans of all ages deserve to live in communities where they can trust law enforcement to operate within a legal framework that ensures trust and respect, rather than suspicion and fear.

De'Von Bailey was shot to death by a Colorado Springs police officer in broad daylight on a public street on August 3, 2019. This was the seventh time this year Colorado Springs police have shot at civilians, and the fifth time the police killed someone as a result. De'Von was just 19 years old when four bullets from an officer's gun took his life. Although the police originally claimed the officer shot him because he reached for a gun, the audio and videotapes tell a different story. What really happened on the street that day shows that our state leaders must respond immediately and meaningfully in order to promote community safety.           

Importantly, although the 911 call reveals that the caller explained that both Mr. Bailey and the other person with him were 18 or 19 years old, the dispatcher does not appear to have relayed that critical information to the officers who responded. Scientific research has demonstrated, and the United States Supreme Court has recognized, that adolescents, whose brains have not yet finished developing, are more likely to make impulsive decisions than adults, because they are not yet capable of weighing the consequences of those decisions. This is especially true in high stress situations. That the police dispatcher didn't recognize the importance of letting responding officers know the information he had about the suspects' ages speaks to the need for all law enforcement officers in Colorado to understand and apply the scientifically proven truths about the differences between adults and youth.

The American Psychological Association published a study in 2014 that showed young black men are seen by white people as both older and more likely to be guilty of wrongdoing than young white men. The study's subjects (both police officers and female undergraduate students) overestimated young black males' ages by 4.5 years, and assumed that young black males accused of criminal conduct were guilty more readily than young white males. This is far from the only scientific research that demonstrates young black men are not afforded the same protections extended to young white men, despite their youth and immaturity.

De'Von Bailey's homicide is being investigated by the El Paso County Sheriff's Department: the same county where Colorado Springs is located. Using another law enforcement agency in the same county is not an independent investigation. Sheriff's deputies and city police officers routinely cooperate on cases and they are subject to the same feelings of loyalty and protectiveness for their colleagues that all of us have. It would not be a hardship to order an investigation by an agency outside El Paso County, and the decision to keep this in house is impossible to justify. The rule of law depends on the public's confidence that justice is administered fairly, and with honor. And that public confidence is absolutely critical to making our Colorado communities safe places where Colorado kids and adults can thrive.

Current Colorado law allows the police to shoot to kill in a variety of situations, so long as the officer pulling the trigger "reasonably believes" it is necessary. That vague phrase-"reasonably believes"-has been left up to prosecutors to interpret when they decide whether to charge an officer after a shooting. And prosecutors and the police routinely work together in the criminal system, adding another layer of concern about the independence of these charging decisions. Our legislators should address the current statute governing when the police can use deadly physical force during an arrest and enact common sense limits on what is now both very broad and poorly defined.         
Report Reveals that DYS Secretive Policy Process is Harming Kids, Endangering Staff

A report released last month by the Colorado's Child Protection Ombudsman (CPO) sharply criticizes the Department of Youth Services (DYS) for its "opaque, inconsistent and inaccessible" approach to policies that directly impact the safety of young people sentenced to DYS facilities.  Because it formulates policies without public hearings or input from anyone outside a small group of agency leaders, staff at DYS facilities believe their opinions on the policies they must implement is not valued, according to the report.
The Colorado Juvenile Defender Center (CJDC) was part of a coalition that published a report in 2017 about the inhumane conditions for young people in DYS facilities.  That report prompted legislative action and prompted DYS to promise several changes, including a pledge to stop using a mechanical restraint called the WRAP, which caused severe physical pain to kids.  In response to public pressure, DYS promised to stop using the WRAP by July, 2018 as part of its pledge to phase out mechanical restraints at its facilities.

The CPO report reveals that DYS did not keep this promise, but simply replaced the WRAP with a new device it calls "the modified WRAP."  Because DYS policy is formulated in secret, DYS was able to conceal the fact that it went back on its word for close to a year.

"DYS must be held accountable for its lack of good faith," said Mike Juba, CJDC board president.  "Secrecy and lack of transparency are inconsistent with Colorado's long history of governmental transparency.  Because DYS is entrusted with the safety and well-being of the kids in its care, it is imperative that its policy decisions are made in a way that deserves public confidence."

The report reflects that DYS does not provide its staff members with a handbook.  This increases concerns that frontline staff members do not have access to current policies, despite being responsible for their implementation.  Staff dissatisfaction with DYS leadership has caused turnover of 100% in the last year in some departments.  "DYS has often cited staff turnover as the reason that its facilities are sometimes violent, unsafe places," said Juba.  "The CPO report shows that it is DYS leadership's own actions that are contributing to these turnovers."

Download the full August 2019 CPO report  HERE.
De-criminalizing Childhood, One Case at a Time

On August 22nd, the Colorado Juvenile Defender Center (CJDC) in partnership with the Rocky Mountain Children's Law Center (RMCLC) and Bridging the Gap of Mile High United Way, held an expungement clinic for youth and young adults currently experiencing homelessness.  All these clients were assisted on a pro bono basis, which was made possible by a generous grant given to CJDC by the Denver Foundation.
Volunteer attorneys from CJDC and RMCLC worked with these young folks to identify their juvenile delinquency records and analyze whether their past charges could be expunged under Colorado law.  Clients who qualified for expungement were then given assistance filling out the petition and order, as well as specific instructions on how and where to file their completed documents.
One client explained how she could not get adequate driver's insurance within her price range as a result of her past conviction.  Another client continued to have problems accessing affordable housing near his place of work.  These clients, as well as many others, were able to finally put their juvenile indiscretions behind them because of the collective efforts of CJDC, RMCLC, and Mile High United Way.  We wish them nothing but success in their future and were proud to help them on their path.
CJDC/OADC Fines and Fees Training

Thursday, October 3, 2019 | 3:00-4:30pm
Denver, CO | Ralph Carr Judicial Center | Rm. 1C

Fees and costs in juvenile cases can doom kids to enter adulthood with financial disadvantages that have serious legal repercussions.  Too often, juvenile defenders don't include a careful discussion of these fees and costs when they discuss potential case resolutions, and post-adjudication, kids have little or no access to counsel to help them get relief from the sentencing court.  This training will give you the tools to understand Colorado's draconian fees and costs in juvenile cases, ensure that you advise juvenile clients properly and completely about fees and costs, and help you strategize ways to minimize your clients' financial penalties.
Nearly 30 Colorado Attorneys Trained for Deregistration and Expungement Proceedings

In August, CJDC Board Chair and juvenile defense attorney, Michael Juba led a CLE covering the ins and outs of representing clients in juvenile record expungement and de-registration cases. The CLE was co-hosted by CJDC and the Office of the Alternate Defense Counsel (OADC) and participants attended both in person in Denver and via webinar from across the state.  

CJDC's "Believe in Youth" program continues to represent youth and young adults in both expungement and deregistration proceedings. The program pairs clients with individual attorneys who handle all aspects of the case. CJDC pays attorneys a small fee for their representation, depending upon the nature of the case. If you are interested in working with the "Believe in Youth" program, reach out to Jeff at
CJDC Needs Office Space

We are looking for a cost effective, practical office that would accommodate two working attorneys and include a space for client meetings.  We have a move in date of around October 1st.  If you know of any available space, please contact Jeff Cuneo at
It's Easy to Support CJDC All Year Long

CJDC is proud to partner with Community Shares of Colorado in workplace giving campaigns. Making charitable donations via paycheck contributions is a convenient option that allows incremental gifts to add up over the course of a year.

A paycheck contribution of $1 a day - $5 each work week-adds up to a $260 annual donation! That would allow us to file 7 amicus briefs in support of youth appealing their cases, publish our resource center newsletter for three months, or hold a two-hour training for juvenile defense attorneys who represent Colorado youth in court.

Do you have an employee giving campaign at work? If yes, please choose CJDC as the recipient of your workplace giving pledge. If your company hosts workplace giving fairs and presentations, request CJDC be a featured nonprofit! If Community Shares is not included in your giving campaign, email to discuss adding more diversity and choice to your campaign.

If you don't have an employee giving campaign, let your HR or Community Investment contact know you want to support CJDC through Community Shares. Contact Community Shares to help you start a campaign at or  303.861.7507

Workplace giving is a great way to support CJDC, our Community Shares number is 5214.