Colorado Supreme Court Upholds SB 16-181
In People v. Brooks the Colorado Supreme Court recently upheld Senate Bill 16-181, a Colorado statute establishing the resentencing of individuals convicted of class 1 felonies while they were juveniles. The Colorado Juvenile Defender Center was integral in passing this bill, which faced bitter opposition from the Colorado District Attorneys Council in the last legislative session. After Miller v. Alabama in 2012, when the Supreme Court found that juveniles cannot be sentenced  to mandatory life without parole, CJDC began to champion legislation in order to eliminate juvenile life without parole in Colorado. Miller's retroactive application was recognized by Montgomery v. Louisiana.  Graham v. Florida reaffirmed that that those sentenced to life in prison as juveniles be given a "meaningful opportunity" for release. Senate Bill 16-181 provides a procedure for resentencing juveniles previously sentenced to LWOP who committed a class 1 felony   "on or after July 1, 1990, and before July 1, 2006" in Colorado.
George Brauchler, the District Attorney for the 18th Judicial District and candidate for Colorado Attorney General, challenged the resentencing of Curtis Brooks, who was convicted of a felony murder when he was 15, claiming that this Colorado statute is "special legislation" and created a "special class." Prior to Brooks, the Colorado Supreme Court established in People v. Canister that the Colorado Constitution prohibits legislation tailored to apply only to a closed class of people. Further, Canister held that a class is closed if it cannot grow or reasonably apply to other people . The intent behind defining special legislation and the difference between a real and an illusory class in Canister was to prevent the unique treatment of one or a select few to become enshrined in Colorado law. In People v. Brooks, the majority found that Senate Bill 16-181, which allows those convicted of felony murder as juveniles to be resentenced to a determinate sentence between 30 and 50 years, did not create a closed class. The class was real because it was open and thus did not constitute constitutionally prohibited special legislation. Importantly, the majority also held that because of Miller and Montgomery, the General Assembly was required to act and the legislative intent in passing Senate Bill 16-181 was to close the sentencing gap created by Miller and Montgomery.  Congratulations to all of the lawyers who fought for Curtis Brooks to ensure that he and others convicted of class 1 felonies when they were juveniles are not held to serve the disproportionate sentences.  
Colorado Direct File and Transfer Law: Legal and Practical Considerations for Juvenile Defenders
CJDC held its state-wide training on Direct File and Transfer Law on September 14th.  The CLE focused on the legal and practical considerations for juvenile defenders when litigating these types of cases.  The training was held simultaneously in several areas around the state and then streamed live for participants so juvenile defenders around the state could participate.  The training focused on providing zealous and effective representation in all stages of transfer and direct file cases, including developing mitigation, utilizing experts, and identifying ethical considerations.  CJDC continues to be a leading resource in the state for juvenile practitioners in advocating for youth and children around the state.

Deregistration Attorneys Needed  

We need your help.
Would you like to represent youth in deregistration and expungement proceedings?  And make a little money while doing it?

We have over 40 clients waiting for your assistance.  If you would like to help, please contact Jeff Cuneo at as soon as possible.
CJDC's Access to Juvenile Justice: Rural and Tribal Southwest Project Concludes

I n 2015, CJDC was awarded funding through the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP)  to study juvenile defense representation in rural, remote, tribal, and underserved areas in Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico (Southwest region).
The three-year, Access to Juvenile Justice: Rural and Tribal Southwest  project began in October of 2015 and ran through September of 2018.  In cooperation with the  National Juvenile Defender Center  (NJDC) and the  Southwest Juvenile Defender Center  (SWJDC), the  Access to Justice: Rural and Tribal Southwest  project sought to celebrate the exemplary juvenile justice programs in the region, offer training where necessary, and determine the level of access to and quality of representation for children facing charges in the Southwest.

Over the past three years, the project has had a significant impact on the Southwest.  The project conducted a statewide Juvenile Defense Gaps Analysis of Arizona's juvenile court system, which included compiling a team of experts in juvenile defense from around the country to conduct observations of Arizona juvenile court hearings and interview a wide array of juvenile court stakeholders; distilling notes taken by experts into successes and gaps; identifying areas where Arizona could improve its system in line with national best practices; and offer training and technical assistance recommendations for ways Arizona can improve its juvenile defense delivery system and juvenile court system.

Additionally, the project developed  A Voice for Our Youth , a tribal collaboration initiative which sought to offer training support to those defenders already advocating for youth on tribal land.   A Voice for Our Youth was designed to work in partnership with judicial leaders, community stakeholders, attorneys and other legal professionals to identify the multifaceted issues facing juvenile defense counsel, develop programs, trainin g, and resources to address those issues, and give a voice to tribal youth.   Under  A Voice for Our Youth , collaborative partnerships were formalized with three tribal courts in the Southwest region.  Partnership projects included a series of two-day site visits, myriad in-depth stakeholder interviews, development and delivery of a three-day traveling training course, and concluded with a youth-led roundtable training.  Additionally,  four tribal court leaders were certified under the Juvenile Training Immersion Program (JTIP) to continue delivering specialized, juvenile-specific training to tribal courts and communities in the region for years to come.

As part of the  Access to Justice: Rural and Tribal Southwest project, a training needs
survey was also developed and sent to attorneys working in rural and tribal areas across the Southwest. The data collected from the survey served a dual purpose, both in the
development of a  Training Needs Survey Report  and the creation of a database of juvenile justice practitioners in the region.  The database was utilized throughout the project and will continue to serve as a regional platform for years to come.  Additionally, 14 new JTIP trainers were certified under the project to develop and deliver future training in the region.  

Further, CJDC served as one of three regional Training and Technical Assistance (TTA) providers for OJJDP throughout the project and developed the Rural Outreach and Accessibility Model (ROAM) for training and a corresponding toolkit as a free resource for anyone looking to bring targeted juvenile defense training to those practicing in remote jurisdictions.  CJDC will release the toolkit and will be presenting the ROAM training model at NJDC's Juvenile Defender Leadership Summit in St. Paul, Minnesota later this month.  

Beyond the partnerships, survey, reports, and toolkit developed under the project, CJDC also provided technical assistance for over 300 juvenile defense attorneys and advocates practicing in rural areas and tribal courts across the region to attend specialized juvenile defense training. The project developed and delivered targeted training on topics ranging from motions practice, detention advocacy, competency, and strategic considerations to mental health, adolescent development, suppression of juvenile statements, the rights of children in tribal courts, alternatives to detention, visions for better juvenile justice systems in tribal courts and beyond.  We held in-person training in every state in the region and brought juvenile-specific training to tribal communities across the Southwest.    

CJDC thanks NJDC and SWJDC for their partnership and the project's Advisory Board and consultants for their contributions to this project's success.  To learn more about the Access to Juvenile Justice: Rural and Tribal Southwest Project, visit our website or reach out via email at  
Upcoming Events and Trainings
October Deregistration & Record Expungement Clinic

October 13, 2018
Aurora Strong
1298 Peoria St., Aurora CO

D o you or someone you know have a juvenile case that needs expunged?  Do you or someone you know want to get off the sex offender registry that arose from a juvenile adjudication?
CJDC, in conjunction with the Colorado Criminal Defense Institute, is providing two clinics in the next two months on these issues.  Come talk to an attorney and find out what you can do to finally move on from your juvenile court experience and put your past firmly in the past.

If you are going to attend, please sign up using this Intake Form.
Navigating the New Competency Standards: Making Colorado Revised Statute ยง 19-2-103 Work for Your Juvenile Clients

December 7, 2018
Denver, CO
Register HERE

Join us for a half-day CLE covering the statutory changes to the Children's Code and other implications of HB18-1050, which applies to acts committed on or after July 1, 2018.  Learn the psychology behind developmental immaturity, competency to stand trial, and what restoration looks like from a psychology perspective.  Review the statutory guidelines and what is going on in Colorado, from the Office of Behavioral Health practice to future legislative efforts.  Walk away with litigation strategies including when and how to raise a claim; how to approach competency claims with clients and family; and how to set up a developmental maturity argument.   
Thank You to Our Sponsors

Youth Justice Hero Sponsors
Hardy & Juba, LLC
David Graham & Stubbs
Polansky Law Firm

Youth Justice Advocate Sponsors
Peter Albani Law
Contiguglia Law Firm
Jeff Cuneo
Lindy Frolich
Carrie Meek
Patrick Vance

Youth Justice Partner Sponsors
Stacie Nelson Colling
Churches for Middle East Peace
Cutler Law Office

Gorman & Zuckerman, LLC

The Noble Law Firm, LLC
Leslie Krueger-Pagett
Jennifer Stinson Law
Amy Trenary
Evan Zuckerman Law