Colorado is one of a minority of states in which the prosecutor has sole discretion as to whether certain crimes will be filed with the juvenile or adult courts. Today, children as young as the age of 14 can be direct filed into adult court and sentenced to adult prison.
The State of Colorado Judicial Committee will have a hearing in room 0112 at the capitol on February 20 at 1:30 to discuss House Bill 08-1208, sponsored by Representative Claire Levy. The public is welcome to attend and state their views on the issue.The following is a summary of the bill, Concerning Juveniles Against Whom Charges Are Directly Filed in a District Court:
For purposes of authorizing a district attorney to directly file charges in district court against a juvenile (“direct file”), changes the minimum age of the defendant from 14 to 16 years. Removes vehicular homicide and vehicular assault from the crimes eligible for direct file. Permits a district court to sentence a juvenile to the youthful offender system as a result of a plea to a class 2 felony if the juvenile was originally charged with a class 1 felony and the district attorney stipulates or the court finds there is no reasonable likelihood of conviction on the class 1 felony. Permits the district court to sentence a juvenile who is convicted as an adult to a juvenile disposition if the court finds the interests of the juvenile and the community are better served by a juvenile disposition. Requires the district court to sentence a juvenile who is convicted as an adult to a juvenile disposition for conviction of an offense for which criminal charges could not have originally been filed by information or indictment. States that, if a juvenile is convicted as an adult and receives a juvenile disposition, the juvenile’s conviction shall be adjudicated as a juvenile delinquency. Creates a reverse-transfer process.
Please urge Governor Ritter to support this bill by contacting him here.
House Bill 08-1208 is being sponsored by Colorado House Representatives Levy, Carroll T., Green, Kefalas, Labuda, Merrifield, Weissman, Benefield, Butcher, Carroll M., Jahn, Judd, Kerr A., Madden, Marshall and Solano and Colorado State Senators Shaffer, Bacon, Gordon, Hagedorn, Morse and Tapaia.