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CO 8th Judicial District Attorney

The District Attorney is responsible for prosecuting all state criminal offenses occurring in their district. These include cases brought by the municipal police departments, sheriffs’ departments and any college police departments, and state and federal law enforcement agencies.Watch the Candidate Forum HERE. Note: This forum also covers the Larimer County Commissioners Candidates for Districts 2 & 3. ELECTION INFO: General Election ballots will start to be mailed on October 9th, 2020. Voter Service and Polling Centers open on Monday, October 19th, 2020. Ballots must be received via mail or at drop-off no later than Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020, by 7 pm. If you have not received your ballot or need a replacement, contact your local Clerk & Recorder Elections Office____________Abogado de Distrito de ColoradoEl/la Fiscal de Distrito y es responsable de procesar todos los delitos del estado cometidos en su distrito. Estos incluyen casos presentados por los departamentos de la policía municipal, los departamentos de alguacil, y cualquier departamento de policías de sectores universitarios, y agencias estatales y federales de fuerzas del orden público. INFROMACIÓN SOBRE LAS ELECCIONES: Las papeletas de votación para las Elecciones Generales empezarán a ser enviadas el 9 de octubre del 2020. Los Centros de Servicios Electorales se abren el lunes, 19 de octubre del 2020. Las papeletas electorales deben ser enviadas por correo o entregadas en un centro de entrega a más tardar a las 7pm el martes, 3 de noviembre del 2020. Si no ha recibido su papeleta electoral o necesita un reemplazo, comuníquese con su Funcionario Oficial de la Oficina de Elecciones local

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    Gordon McLaughlin
    (D)

  • Candidate picture

    Mitch Murray
    (R)

Biographical Information

How would you address racial injustice within your district?

Are you in favor of bail reforms that have been practiced recently that allow the release of prisoners prior to their trial date versus many detainees being held awaiting the outcome of their case? Please explain.

Are you in favor of reforming sex offender felony sentencing from the current indeterminate sentencing to determinate sentencing? Please explain. (Current law allows for indeterminate sentencing which conceivably imposes being held for the remainder of their life depending on a number of factors. The change to determinate sentencing would impose a definite end date.)

How should the District Attorney’s office handle the current backlog of cases going forward? What concerns do you have about handling the backlog and its effect on outcomes?

Background Gordon is a career prosecutor with the experience to lead and the pragmatism to bring long overdue reforms to the criminal justice system. His top priority is community safety. He is committed to justice, equity and transparency. He is a graduate of Cornell University and University of Colorado Law.
Antecedentes Gordon es un fiscal de carrera con la experiencia para liderar y el pragmatismo para llevar a cabo reformas al sistema de justicia penal que se habían retrasado mucho tiempo. Su máxima prioridad es la seguridad comunitaria. Está comprometido con la justicia, la equidad y la transparencia.
Dirección postal PO Box 1611 Fort Collins, CO 80522
Contact phone (970) 481-3449
Teléfono (970) 481-3449
Correo electrónico info@mclaughlinforda.com
We are facing a crisis of confidence in our criminal justice system. In large part this is due to silence and inaction in the face of systemic bias and injustice. First, I will create a culture where these issues are discussed within law enforcement and their impacts understood and considered. Second, I will reach out to BIPOC communities to build relationships, understand their experiences and include their voices. Third, my staff and I will meet marginalized communities where they are to build trust, not make them come to us. Fourth, I will recruit and value a diverse workforce that better reflects our community. Fifth, I will institute policies like cash bail reform, diversion programs, and other alternatives to incarceration; reforming policies that have historically disadvantaged BIPOC communities will begin to mitigate the uneven administration of justice. Sixth, I will hold law enforcement accountable for wrongdoing. Our community isn't safe until everyone feels safe.
The cash bail system is inequitable and erodes trust in the criminal justice system. Too many people are incarcerated pre-trial, before any conviction. A “low” bond for many with the privilege to afford it, is an impossible sum for others. This results in lengthy pre-trial incarceration - not due to any danger to the community - but merely due to an inability to pay. Reforming this system, so that decisions are made based on safety, not money, will build trust in the criminal justice system and improve relationships with victims, jurors and the community - resulting in improved community safety. Incarceration is the most expensive supervision option. Reallocating these costs can improve safety. With appropriate oversight, we can safely supervise many more pre-trial cases out-of-custody, while dangerous offenders can remain in custody when appropriate. I will institute these improvements using the data-driven approach recommended by the CO Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice.
Sexual assaults are some the most serious cases a District Attorney's office handles. These crimes have tragic and lifelong consequences for the victims involved and have profound impact on whether we feel safe in our community. An indeterminate sentence is not a life sentence, but instead a sentence that ensures safe supervision of sex offenders through the Colorado Sexual Offender Management Board. It ensures that treatment continues until the risks of recidivism are mitigated. Efforts to reduce the risk of re-offense are essential to community safety. Ending indeterminate sentencing altogether would remove that safeguard and prevent treatment providers from having the discretion to look at offenders on a case-by-case basis. It would risk putting unreformed sexual offenders back in the community too soon. The solution to prevent unnecessarily long sentences is not to remove the safeguards, but to bolster treatment resources and provide the rehabilitation the sentence requires.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted several problems which already existed, and went unaddressed. Despite the clear need for planning during the court shutdown, the District Attorney’s office made no coordinated effort to address the trial backlog or the high jail population. I will prioritize the most serious crimes that are impacting our community safety, diverting lower-level cases, while focusing on the highest need cases: violent crimes, repeat offenders, domestic and sexual assaults, gun crimes, and repeat offenders. These practices will benefit community safety and responsible spending of taxpayer dollars through the pandemic and beyond. I will also consider the health and safety impacts to our community members summonsed to serve on juries and I will address the issue of overcharging crimes that results in unneeded litigation. During a crisis our elected leaders must be pragmatic, adaptable and prepared to fight new challenges in order to protect our community.
Background 30 yrs with the District Attorney's Office. 7 yrs as Assistant DA involved in administration, previous supervision of District Court, County Court, Intake, and Special Victims Unit. Colorado Best Practices Committee. Chair of Colorado’s Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Board.
Antecedentes 30 años trabajando en la fiscalía. 7 años como Fiscal Asistente, gestión administrativa y supervisión de la fiscalía de Distrito, Fiscalía del Condado, Admisión de Causas y la Unidad de Victimas Especiales. Miembro del Comité de Practicas Adecuadas de Colorado.
Dirección postal PO Box 272107 Fort Collins, CO 80527
Contact phone 970-217-0484
Teléfono 970-217-0484
Correo electrónico mitch@votemitchmurrayda.com
Racial injustice is a complex issue that must be addressed at various levels. My first step will be making sure the employees in my office are educated on implicit bias and how it can impact their decision making. Having conversations about issues of racism and bias will keep them aware of the issue and make them better able to see when bias might be influencing their decision making. I will challenge the supervisors in my office to monitor what we are doing and enable and encourage everyone to come forward when they see a problem. I will improve our recruiting practices to try to attract and hire a more diverse workforce in order to create a diverse and inclusive environment. Additionally, I hope to increase our data gathering practices so that we can observe trends and have data to evaluate our approach to change implementation. My goal would be to share the same data with the public to increase transparency and establish accountability.
We are fortunate to have a robust pretrial release program that is a model across our state. For years, Larimer County and the 8th Judicial District have worked to make sure the people detained in our jail need to be there and those who can be released are released. That work is on-going and constantly reviewed. A defendant is held in jail awaiting resolution of their case only after a Judge has found probable cause to believe they committed the crime they are charged with committing. A defendant retains the right to ask the Judge to reexamine their detention, to argue they can safely be released into the community given that they will appear in court and will not violate the law. The truth is, there are defendants who present a great risk to our community, who will commit new crimes, terrorize victims, or victimize other members of our community. I support bail reform that both release those who do not present a danger to the community and provides a mechanism to detain those who do.
The entire sentencing scheme in Colorado must be reformed. There is no truth in sentencing. Defendants sentenced to 10 years in prison for a serious crime are on the street in as little as 3 years. Sex offenders have been released without significant treatment and after only serving a short time in prison. This undermines confidence in our criminal justice system and re-victimizes those hurt by crime. In the Lifetime Supervision of Sex Offenders Act, our legislature recognized the damage sex offenses inflict on victims and our community. They also recognized the high cost, both in dollars and loss of human potential, of lengthy incarceration, and set up a system that provides treatment to allow those who actively participate and do not present a danger to be released back into the community. While I support re-examining sex offender sentencing, I do not support elimination of indeterminate sentencing for these crimes.
The decisions of the District Attorney’s Office must be guided by the same principles that guide our every decision; pursuing justice, protecting the community, and ensuring the rights of defendants and the rights of victims are upheld. The backlog of cases created by the current pandemic and the difficulty in safely conduct jury trials does not change that. We have instituted changes which allow our attorneys, investigators, victim advocates, and administrative staff to continue to work productively and remotely. We have worked with the courts and defense attorneys to find ways to safely bring our cases to trial and have conducted multiple jury trials in a week. The District attorney’s Office will continue to focus on resolving cases in a way that provides the level of supervision necessary to protect the community, provides the counseling, treatment and education necessary to rehabilitate the defendant, and which protect and restore victims to the greatest extent possible.