DENVER —The Colorado District Attorneys’ Council (CDAC) and the Colorado Attorney General’s Office today announced the formation of the Colorado Best Practices Committee. The committee will function as a think tank for prosecutors to stay informed of key issues, developing legal trends and technology advances. Through its formation, the committee will support state prosecutors’ mission of being leaders in thoughtful and effective legal practices that the public can trust. Colorado is now the fourth state to create such an initiative.
“The criminal justice system is constantly evolving so this committee will help prosecutors stay ahead of changes coming from technology, science and legal developments to ensure Colorado citizens have informed and educated prosecutors,” Executive Director Tom Raynes of the CDAC explained. “I expect that the Best Practices Committee will likely embrace a wide range of topics such as using social media to assist in investigations as well as objectively analyzing current research on identification procedures.”
The seven-member committee will meet several times a year. A cross section of the state’s elected district attorney’s offices will make up five committee members. Two additional members, Julie Selsberg, First Assistant Attorney General from the Attorney General’s Office Prosecutions Assistance Unit, and CDAC’s Tom Raynes will serve as co-chairs. United States Attorney for the District of Colorado John Walsh committed to serving as an ad hoc committee member. CDAC’s website will house the Best Practice Committee information and materials.
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office applauds the Colorado District Attorneys’ Council and the Colorado Attorney General’s Office for forming this critical law enforcement coordinating committee,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh. “As an ad hoc member, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will work with the other agencies to ensure even greater and more effective coordination between federal and state law enforcement.”
The committee is a natural extension of the work of the Colorado Justice Review Project (JRP) and the CDAC. Every district attorney in Colorado participated in the JRP, inviting JRP staff to examine case files and speak with attorneys and witnesses. One such collaboration with the Mesa County District Attorney’s Office resulted in the exoneration of Robert Dewey who was released in 2012 after DNA testing indicated the identity of another perpetrator in the rape and murder of a 19-year-old woman in Palisade, CO. In addition, the JRP had the support of the Colorado Department of Corrections, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar and local law enforcement agencies across the state.
“The Colorado Attorney General’s Office is currently working with the CDAC on legislation, training, task force committees and to promote common issues within the prosecutorial community,” said Julie Selsberg. “The formation of the Best Practices Committee unites our experiences and expertise and will be a reliable resource for Colorado’s criminal justice community.”
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