The DA Dispatch
Updates From Your Denver DA
Pursuing Equity in Justice
Justice was served when jurors in Minneapolis found former police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of murdering George Floyd. George Floyd’s death affected our entire nation and galvanized many in Denver to take to the streets and demand changes to policing and an end to systemic injustices rooted in racism. The guilty verdict moves our country forward, however, there is still more work to do. You can be assured that our office is committed to being part of the solutions that create a fair and equitable society. 
Long before George Floyd and other racial injustices surfaced, I was concerned with the over representation of people of color in the criminal justice system. I commissioned an independent research study to explore whether any racial and ethnic disparities appeared in how our office prosecutes cases. In undertaking this work, I had two important goals: to ensure fair and equal justice and treatment for all, and to gain your trust by being transparent.
I am pleased, but not surprised, that the report did not find racial or ethnic disparities in our overall plea bargaining and resolution of felony cases. Review of case files and administrative data showed no differences between Black, Hispanic and White defendants in general plea dispositions of cases. It did show that we need to dive deeper into some limited areas of discrepancy, specifically in dismissals, deferred judgments, and referrals to drug court. However, there was no overall indication that those issues were based on racial bias. The report makes recommendations that I am committed to pursuing and some that were already underway prior to the report’s release.

The real gift of this research is that it is sparking conversations internally and externally. Colorado’s elected district attorneys from small, medium and large jurisdictions, Republicans and Democrats are now discussing the prosecutors' role in correcting racial disparities in our work. It is encouraging to hear commitment, determination and innovation as DAs consider how to improve many facets of a cumbersome system. 

Legislative Session 2021
The Colorado General Assembly concluded its 2021 session in June and we were pleased that many laws we supported sailed through the legislature and are now law or awaiting Governor Polis’ signature.

Several laws passed that will help law enforcement track stolen guns, prevent many needless tragedies, and make the community safer.

One requires gun owners in households with minors to safely store their firearms. Another requires gun owners to report any lost or stolen firearms within five days of that discovery. We testified in support of a law to establish the new Office of Gun Violence Prevention that will coordinate and promote effective efforts to reduce gun violence.

Assistant DA Maggie Conboy and our Firearm Investigator John Quinn testified in support of legislation to create new and more thorough procedures for requiring domestic violence abusers to relinquish their firearms when served with civil or mandatory protection orders.
DA McCann testified in support of legislation that will help with the backlog of jury trials COVID-19 caused by putting more time on the clock to take a case to trial. She also testified in support of pre-trial detention reform legislation to ensure the court holds a bond setting hearing within 48 hours once an arrestee arrives at a jail or holding center.
Maribel; Ensuring Justice From Behind the Scenes
Each year, the Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance (COVA) leads Denver’s annual observances of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, which marked its 40th anniversary this April. This year’s theme, “Support Victims. Build Trust. Engage Communities.” was designed to emphasize the importance of leveraging community support to help victims of crime.
During this year’s observance, COVA recognized our Victim Advocate, Maribel Salazar with the 2020 Outstanding Victim Advocate Award within the Public Sector. Maribel is the consummate embodiment of a victim advocate.

According to Maribel, the victim advocate is the backstage manager, the one to put all the pieces in place and help the victim navigate the complicated trial process. Maribel often becomes close to the victims and their families and stays connected. She says that a victim’s gratitude is a sense of pride for her. 
Your Neighborhood DA
Our deputy DAs attend neighborhood meetings to hear your concerns and respond to questions. One of our deputy DAs said of his experience participating in neighborhood meetings, “their members all share something in common: an unwavering commitment to their communities.”
He says attending neighborhood meetings is a, “humble reminder of all the work we must continue to accomplish together.”

To have a deputy DA come to your neighborhood meeting, contact [email protected] or 720-913-9187.
Mental Wellness For All
May was Mental Health Awareness Month, and our office promoted innovative programs for handling mental illness in the criminal justice system, weekly reminders to help dispel the stigma of mental health issues and reminders to tend to our own mental health.
One in five adults will suffer a mental health issue during their lifetime, yet fewer than half of those adults will get the help they need. Take time to prioritize your own mental wellness and look out for your family and friends. Please look into the many resources and assistance for those who feel lost or in need of support. Help yourself or a friend by calling 1-844-493-8255No one should feel alone in their mental health journey or without the resources and support they need.
Last weekend was Denver's Juneteenth festival to celebrate the day slaves in Texas learned of their freedom. Denver's Festival is one of the nation's largest Juneteenth celebrations, and we were grateful President Biden signed a law to recognize Juneteenth on June 19th as a national public holiday in time for the festivities.
Denver Pride
“We needed something to express our joy, our beauty, our power. And the rainbow did that.”
Activist Gilbert Baker on creating the Pride Flag

Please join us to observe DENVER PRIDE this weekend to celebrate the LGBTQ community. Enjoy the many ways to participate, both virtually and in person.