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CO 18th 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.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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  • Candidate picture

    John Kellner
    (R)

  • Candidate picture

    Amy L. Padden
    (D)

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 I am a husband, a father, and a Marine who has served this country since I graduated law school, first as a Judge Advcoate and now in the DAs office. I've been selected as Prosecutor of the Year for the entire State of Colorado by bipartisan DAs. I care about doing the right thing over politics.
Antecedentes I am a husband, a father, and a Marine who has served this country since I graduated law school, first as a Judge Advcoate and now in the DAs office. I've been selected as Prosecutor of the Year for the entire State of Colorado by bipartisan DAs. I care about doing the right thing over politics.
Dirección postal 5994 S. Holly St, #177 Greenwood Village, CO 80111
Contact phone 720-477-0332
Teléfono 720-477-0332
Correo electrónico john@johnkellner.com
Twitter @JohnKellnerCO
Racial disparity exists and we all need to be aware of the unconscious biases that pervade all walks of life. As a Chief Deputy DA in the 18th I have supported multiple unconscious bias trainings over the last several years and I am committed to continuing that work to ensure our attorneys are not acting in a way that unfairly prosecutes people of color. Far too often though, we only look at one part of the racial disparity in criminal justice: the percentage of defendants of a particular population and how that relates to the population as a whole. When we do that, we ignore that there are also a disproportionate number of victims of color in our communities. Ex: the population of Aurora is 14% Black, but make up 35% of all violent crime victims. Crime, and the consequences of that crime are much more often felt in communities of color, and this is where the District Attorney can make a real and positive impact. Please go to www.johnkellner.com to learn more about my vision and plans.
It is important to clarify some misconceptions about bail. Every defendant in Colorado is entitled to bail unless they are charged with a 1st degree murder and a judge determines there is sufficient evidence to hold the defendant without bail on the murder case. Public safety is my top priority, but that doesn’t mean keeping everyone locked away. Bail decisions need to be based on the individual, their criminal history, record of appearing in court, and the risk to their victims, witnesses, and the community. One of the most frustrating things for a prosecutor is receiving a case of a violent crime where the defendant is already on bond in 4 other pending cases around the metro area. Unfortunately, this happens often. And it is a difficult thing to explain to the victims of these crime. I do not believe in perpetually releasing individuals who continue to commit new crimes – particularly violent ones– while pending trial.
This is not a reform that I support because it puts our communities at risk. As a prosecutor in the Marine Corps and a Chief Deputy District Attorney in our community, I’ve seen sex offenders who were convicted of a single child sex offense but confessed to countless other child victims and whose computers were filled with child porn. According to the CO District Attorneys Council, 2,919 people have received indeterminate prison sentences since the year 2000. Over three-quarters of those prison sentences involve sex offenses against a child. The purpose behind indeterminate sentencing is to hold offenders under supervision until they have completed treatment and their threat to the community and our children is decreased. This is important. The current system provides an incentive to complete treatment and proactively try to lower the offender's risk level to the community. Indeterminate sentences are relatively rare but are necessary in the cases in which they are applied.
This is where experience in the 18th Judicial District matters. As a former Chief Deputy DA in Arapahoe and current supervisor of the Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln county DA offices, I've worked proactively with the judges, law enforcement and defense bar to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on the court system. With my background in cold cases, I know firsthand how the age of a case impacts the evidence. Cases rarely get better with age. That means that we have more cases that are more difficult to take to trial during a time when the number of jury trials is significantly limited. Fortunately, my team has been proactive and innovative working through the backlog. I helped set up virtual court here so we could move cases forward and modified plea offers for low level offenses without jeopardizing community safety. I worked with stakeholders to set up procedures to safely conduct jury trials. I will also continue to prioritize violent crimes to ensure that victims have their day in court.
Background Amy is running for DA in the 18th JD in Colorado. She has worked as a prosecutor at the US Attorney's Office, two District Attorney's Offices, and the Colorado Attorney's Office.
Contact phone 303 888 9915
Twitter @amypaddenco
My district is extremely diverse, and this will be a top priority of mine. First of all, I would commission an outside review of our data (bail, charging decisions, dispositions, sentences, etc) to see where the process has been impacted by racial bias. I would also require implicit bias training. I have experience on this topic, having served on a national working group of federal prosecutors to address implicit bias. If these measures are not enough, we may need to employ different tactics, such as blind referrals for programs like diversion or blind file reviews. In Aurora, where I live, there is much work to do to repair the relationships between various groups and law enforcement, and I will make this a top priority.
Yes. We spend far too much time incarcerating people. Individuals who are being held pretrial are presumed innocent, yet many may sit in jail if they can't post bail, awaiting their trial date. When that occurs, they cannot go to their jobs and earn a living. They may lose their job, their home, and even their family. This disproportionately affects black and brown communities as well as less affluent individuals, who have the most to lose as a result of pretrial incarceration.
I am generally in favor of determinate sentences, while acknowledging that there may be extreme cases where an offender simply cannot be released back into the community without a substantial risk of reoffending. But those cases should be few and far between, and we need to do a better job of ensuring sex offenders received treatment and can take steps towards rehabilitation.
There has always been somewhat of a backlog, but this has increased during COVID. Reducing our jail populations is key to helping us move past the COVID epidemic. We should not be holding individuals pretrial for minor offenses. I will work closely with the District on re-opening, including working through the backlog of cases and trials. I currently work in another DA’s office where the courts have already reopened and there have already been jury trials, and we are regularly in court, while social distancing and avoiding outbreaks. Moreover, I will implement meaningful alternatives to incarceration, including a robust Adult Diversion program that is far more inclusive than the small program currently in the office, which will assist in reducing our over-incarceration rate and backlog.