The Criminal Justice Section prosecutes a variety of crimes impacting Colorado and its citizens and is recognized as a premier prosecutors’ office in the State.
The single largest component of the Criminal Justice Section is the Appellate Division. The Appellate Division is statutorily charged with handling all of the criminal appeals in the state on behalf of the people of Colorado. Other units within the Criminal Justice Section have statutory authority to prosecute certain types of crime throughout the state; these prosecutions are initiated either through direct filings in the appropriate jurisdiction or through use of the statewide Grand Jury.
The prosecutors in the Special Prosecutions Unit are sworn as special deputy district attorneys in the twenty-two judicial districts to provide assistance to the local district attorney on complex cases and on multi-jurisdictional investigations. Members of the Special Prosecution Unit prosecute major drug trafficking organizations, human trafficking rings, identity theft, election fraud and other fraud schemes. The Violent Crimes Assistance Team provides assistance and litigation support to district attorneys across Colorado on homicide cases, cold case homicides and other violent crimes. The Auto Theft Initiative investigates and prosecutes complex crimes related to auto theft statewide.
The Criminal Justice Section also has Securities Fraud, Insurance Fraud and Medicaid Fraud Control Units, and an Environmental Crimes Team. These units have statutory authority to prosecute offenders in Colorado in each of these areas.
The Criminal Justice Section also houses the Colorado Justice Review Project which examines cases of inmates incarcerated on violent crimes to determine whether DNA testing would establish actual innocence for the inmate. The project, funded by a grant from the National Institute of Justice, began in 2010 and had its first exoneration in April of 2012 in Mesa County when Robert Dewey was released from custody after nearly 18 years of incarceration.
The Criminal Justice Section has a highly specialized Foreign Prosecution Unit which assists in both the extradition of foreign nationals from Mexico who have committed crimes in Colorado and the utilization of the Article IV treaty provisions with Mexico that provide a mechanism for the prosecution of defendants in Mexico for crimes committed in Colorado.
The Public Safety Unit of the Attorney General’s Office is responsible for providing legal advice, counsel, and representation on issues arising from or related to the wide range of Colorado Department of Public Safety (“CDPS”) entities and areas of responsibility. The CDPS includes the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, the Colorado State Patrol, the Division of Criminal Justice, the Division of Fire Prevention and Control, the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, and approximately 50 boards and commissions.
Finally, the Colorado Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Board manages the training and certification of approximately 14,000 active and reserve peace officers who are appointed to Colorado Law Enforcement Agencies, in addition to managing 28 certified peace officer training academies in Colorado and approximately $2 million dollars in training grants.
The Criminal Justice Section is made up of one Division and nine units: