The DA Dispatch
Office Updates from Your Denver DA
Taking on 2022 With Data-Driven Solutions
Recently, Colorado was selected by the Microsoft Justice Reform Initiative to participate in “The Colorado Prosecutorial Dashboard Project and I am excited that our office is one of eight participating Colorado DA’s offices. The goal of the project is to use technology to advance data-driven solutions to problems and to be transparent and accountable.  
At no cost to taxpayers, Microsoft is fully funding the development of a state-of-the-art, public data “dashboard” that will reflect:  
  • statistics on crime and how our office is responding
  • demographic comparisons for criminal justice outcomes
  • information to improve our service to victims and the community
  • data to inform evidence-based solutions
  • measures that ensure we are effectively using taxpayer resources.
Once the project is complete, the interactive dashboards will be on our website and give real-time graphs about such things as, the number of felony and drug cases we file by the age, sex, race and ethnicity of defendants and victims. The project is well underway and we anticipate it being complete by August 2023. 
What would you like to know about our work? Watch for a special follow-up email next week in which we ask you to take a survey and share with us your thoughts in support of this project.
I wrote about the importance of using data in the work we do in a Denver Post guest commentary.

Open any newspaper in the country and you will read about the rise in crime. In January the Denver Post published "How Bad is Crime in Colorado?" in which reporter Elise Schmelzer examined 35-years of state crime data and offered some key findings. Among them: not all crime is up in Colorado; that while Colorado's crime rate is the highest it's been since 1995, it is still lower than it was during the preceding decade; and that rather than a sudden spike, crime has steadily increased over the last six years.
Our number one priority – and rightly so – is the prosecution of violent offenders and I thank everyone who is in the trenches working to prevent crime, responding to crime and helping to keep our neighborhoods safe from crime. Any increase in crime is disturbing so it is important to understand what’s behind the rise in crime. While there are many factors at play, one thing we know for sure is that we have a drug problem and that fentanyl, which is 50 to 100 times more potent than heroin, is killing people.
Recently, we announced that we are prosecuting 32-year old Jose P. Hernandez whom we’ve accused of running a large-scale drug operation. When he was arrested, Hernandez had thousands of fentanyl pills – enough to kill thousands of people - (as well as other drugs, guns and cash).  
My office is working with Colorado’s Legislative Staff Council, our state legislators and other DAs to help craft a bill that will increase the penalties around fentanyl. If we can get on top of our fentanyl problem, I am optimistic that we will see a correlating decrease in some crime.
Denver Solves Four Cold Cases
In 2008, the DA’s Cold Case Unit, the Denver Police Department’s Crime Lab and their Cold Case Unit, along with other agencies, began looking into what seemed to be an isolated cold case: the 1978 murder of Madeline Livaudais in her Park Hill home. For more than a decade, that case underwent many rounds of DNA testing and renewed case review by the DA’s Office in collaboration with the Denver Crime Lab and DPD Cold Case Unit. Indeed, our same prosecutor worked on the Livaudais case from its first review until the case was solved using familial match DNA analysis and genetic genealogy testing.
Working together, the cross-agency team was able to identify one man, Joe Ervin, as the sole person responsible for not just one, but four brutal murders that went unsolved for 35 years: the August 1980 murder of Dolores Barajas, the December 1980 murder of Gwendolyn Harris and the January 1981 murder of 17-year-old Antoinette Parks. In 1981, Ervin committed suicide while being held in jail for killing an Aurora police officer.

Cold cases are among the toughest crimes to solve. Along with the families of these four women, we are grateful for the tenacity of the many law enforcement agencies and the $470,000 grant awarded to the Denver Police Department, the Denver Crime Lab and the Denver DA’s Office from the Bureau of Justice Assistance that supported this work.
Human Trafficking; The hidden victims
January was National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month and our Human Trafficking Unit participated in a Colorado Human Trafficking Council panel discussion in which they dissected how they brought a trafficker to justice. The case in which a husband trafficked his wife brought to light the difficulty of identifying human trafficking incidents.
Our Chief Deputy DA also spoke with a reporter about the issue and explained that human trafficking cases are hidden crimes that range in complexity. She said, “No one is picking up the phone and calling 911 and saying, ‘I am a victim of human trafficking.” 
"We have to dig for these cases; they don’t come to us the traditional way."

-Chief Deputy DA
Lara Mullin
The best way to prevent human trafficking is through awareness which is why we hope you will read the article and watch the video below:
Longmont Daily-Times Call/Boulder Daily Camera/Denver Post: Uncovering human trafficking in Boulder County

Victim Advocates Are the Backbone of Our Criminal Justice System
In January, we said farewell to one of our longtime victim advocates, Cindy Torres, who retired after 43 years in the office. Cindy first came to our office as a high school student. After graduating, then DA Dale Tooley asked her to help create the Family Violence Unit. Since the early ‘90s Cindy dedicated her time to seeking justice for victims every day.
For every case we prosecute, a victim advocate like Cindy is putting in countless hours behind the scenes supporting victims through the trial process, providing comfort, empathy and sometimes essentials such as transportation and clothing. Thank you, Cindy, for your invaluable service. We wish you all the best in your well-deserved retirement.
Fitting Tribute to a True Leader
Former Denver District Court Senior Judge Gary Jackson was inducted into the Denver Public Library's distinguished Blacks in Colorado Hall of Fame in February. Judge Jackson began his career as a Deputy DA in our office in 1970. At the time he was the only Black prosecutor in Colorado. Among his many accomplishments Judge Jackson helped found the Sam Cary Bar Association and create a scholarship endowment for Black law students. Throughout his career, he strove to inspire diverse young people to become a judge. During his induction speech, Judge Jackson said this honor makes Black History Month extra special.
Holiday Giving:
A Win for Our Office and the Community
Our office is committed to working with the community and various agencies to help those in need especially during the holidays.
This year we again partnered with the Young Lawyers Division of the Colorado Bar Association to raise money to help Metro Caring meet people’s immediate need for nutritious food while building a movement to address the root causes of hunger. For the third year in a row, our employees raised the most money within the 150+ employee category and took home the soup can trophy.

Many of our employees also participate in the Denver Employee Charitable Campaign which provides a continual source of sustainable funding for local nonprofits.
Assistant District Attorney Zach McCabe proudly shows off our soup can trophy from 2020.