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20 th JUDICIAL DISTRICT DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE.

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Presentation on theme: "20 th JUDICIAL DISTRICT DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE."— Presentation transcript:

1 20 th JUDICIAL DISTRICT DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE

2 SCHOOL SAFETY Our schools are safe when our communities are safe. Protecting our kids from internal and external threats, while holding them accountable, moving them to the next stage of life and helping victims heal. The expansion of Restorative Justice diversion for juveniles in the 20th judicial District.

3 By school safety, I mean: "Maintaining our schools to keep them safe from both internal and external threats of criminal behavior, bullying or other activities that interfere with a safe and comfortable learning environment.”

4 DISTRICT ATTORNEY ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY DISTRICT COURT SEX /DV ECONOMIC CRIME APPELLATE COMMUNITY PROTECTION INVESTIGATIONS ADMIN DEPUTY JUVENILE UNIT COUNTY COURT OFFICE MANAGER /IT

5 PHILOSOPHY OF PROSECUTION IN 20 TH JUDICIAL DISTRICT Fairness and transparency throughout the process; Building strong relationships with other agencies; Taking cases to trial where required and holding offenders accountable under the law; Highest standards of ethics in prosecution

6 CASE STUDIES People v. Joseph Abeyta Guilty, First Degree Murder, October, 2009 People v. Kevin McGregor Guilty, First Degree Murder February, 2012

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8 ABEYTA No juvenile history, but long criminal history starting at age 19 in 1986 with criminal trespass. Was given 1 year supervised probation. Charges up until murder conviction include arson, accessory, two counts of drugs, robbery, burglary, and escape 2009: Convicted of First Degree Murder

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10 MCGREGOR 2006 (age 18): Offense of MJ possession and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia Pled guilty, MJ charge dropped, given a fine. No treatment given. No school intervention. In 2008 (age 20), committed robbery. Charged with 1.) Assault 2, Cause Injury w/Deadly Weapon 2.) Extortion 3.) Assault 3, Know/Reckless cause of injury. Convicted by jury at trial. 3 months later, committed DUI Sentenced to 3 yrs ISP, no weapons, Anger Management Treatment, Substance Abuse Monitoring and Treatment

11 How do we as a society, prevent people from becoming Joseph Abeyta or Kevin McGregor?

12 Lets look at these two men. Both had been involved in escalating criminal activity from their teen age years, culminating in the worst crime under our law, First degree murder, McGregor at age 23 and Abeyta in his 40's. And for my six years as DA, i have been saying that what we need to do is to help people become “taxpayers” Why? Because taxpayers who are invested in our communities, who have families or loved ones, who feel that they share a stake in our society do not commit serious crimes

13 “Turn into a taxpayer” a cliché that means: Get to age 24 with a job and an education and no drug or alcohol dependency. To be a good citizen.

14 And for my six years as DA, I have been saying that what we need to do is to help people become "taxpayers." Why? Because people who are invested in our communities, who have families or loved ones, who feel that they share a stake in our society do not commit serious crimes

15 To Maintain school Safety, requires a system that focuses on Both. 1.Extrinsic Factors (Factors external to individual students) 2.Intrinsic Factors (Factors within the kids and how we develop them.

16 EXTRINSIC FACTORS What are the keys? Clear understanding of roles: Teachers teach, cops are cops and the courts adjudicate crime. District Attorneys are prosecutors, not psychologists or social workers. Respect each others roles. Building strong communication between law enforcement, education leaders, teachers and cops. Trouble shooting incidents and learning from them after the fact. Developing a culture of proportional response. Relying appropriately on the expertise of different disciplines: law, the courts, education, social sciences, medicine and psychiatry.

17 Extrinsic means: Everyone should become good at what they do and work meaningfully, collaborating respectfully with other disciplines.

18 HOUSE BILL 11-1032 CREATED RESTORATIVE JUSTICE PILOT PROGRAM TO PREVENT RECIDIVISM AMONG JUVENILES PROVIDE REPARATION AND CLOSURE FOR VICTIMS

19 EARLY PREDICTORS Addiction to drugs and alcohol in family Dysfunctional/mentally ill parents or guardians Domestic violence/child abuse

20 Goals of Juvenile Justice System Juvenile justice involvement should be as minimal as possible to address risk/needs Matching service to need to drive down risks Avoid early labeling Avoid collateral consequences – Immigration, employment, housing, education, military, expungement Support family stability with resources

21 Community Safety/Interests Shifting how youth are handled by Juvenile Justice System depends heavily on public support and acceptance; Acknowledgement that community safety can be served by early intervention and prevention Promote local handling of delinquency cases and increase community based alternatives and evidence based services;

22 Juvenile Justice vs. Restorative Justice When a crime is committed, typically 3 questions are asked: – Who did it? – What laws were broken? – How will we punish the offender? In a restorative justice system, 3 different questions are asked: – What happened? – Who was affected and how? – What is needed to make things right?

23 First, we need to be realistic. Given then realities of human nature (what my mother and her Presbyterian forbears called "The Human Condition"), there will always be crime and we will always need police, and prosecutors and prisons. Having a utopian view of preventing all crime is not pragmatic and we should not waste time with such fantasies. And, so it is clear, I have no problem philosophically accepting the reality that there will always be some criminals who must be put in prison to keep our communities safe. But we can and should always be evaluating what we can do to keep crime rates low and our communities safe. And when our communities are safe, our schools are safe as well.

24 STATISTICS Arrest before age 16 significantly reduces probability of graduating high school by age 19 (Merlo and Wolpin, 2009) Increasing graduation rates by 10% would prevent over 3,000 murders and 175,000 aggravated assaults each year (SLJ, 2008) One out of every eight juvenile prisoners will graduate from high school (Biddle 2010, Dropout Nation) 56% of alleged youth offenders with any previous court referral will end up back in front of a judge before the age of 18 (Biddle 2010, Dropout Nation)

25 Students who drop out of high school experience higher levels of substance abuse problems, require more social services, and are more likely to be arrested or incarcerated (ABA Commission on Youth at Risk, 2013). Restorative Justice Practices are found to be effective in reducing the frequency of recidivism (Sherman et al. 2014). Research suggests that 30-60% of juvenile delinquents known to the police or juvenile courts persisted as adult offenders, with at least on arrest or conviction as an adult for an index or felony offense (Ridgeway and Listenbee with National Institute of Justice, 2014)

26 Restorative Justice in Schools According to Laura Snider with Longmont Community Justice Partnership, the Pilot Project, which uses a Student Restorative Justice Team to implement restorative processes for disciplinary issues, has diverted 91 court referrals and saved 172 days of suspension. This is an increase of 1024 hours in learning time.

27 Strength Factors: Stable Housing, Education, Pro-Social Family, Motivated to Change Risk Factors: History of Substance Abuse, Boredom, High Risk Peers, High Risk Relapse/Recidivism 2009: Charged with Assault 2012: Convicted of First Degree Murder

28 Teen sentenced to 3 years probation in Centaurus High bomb case


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