The Colorado Justice Review Project (JRP) is a post-conviction DNA testing program at the Attorney General’s Office to review convictions of certain violent crimes committed in Colorado in an attempt to identify cases in which post-conviction DNA testing could possibly exonerate an innocent inmate.
The JRP was previously funded by grants from the National Institute of Justice which began in 2010. Applications have been made available to inmates incarcerated in the Colorado Department of Corrections who meet the following criteria:
- the inmate must have been convicted (by guilty plea or after trial) of a violent felony offense as designated by the grant
- identity must have been an issue in the case
- physical evidence that would be material to the identity of the perpetrator must have been collected at the time of the crime and be currently available for DNA testing
The qualifying offenses include:
- First or Second Degree Murder
- First or Second Degree Kidnapping
- First or Second Degree Assault
- Aggravated Robbery
- First Degree Arson
- First Degree Burglary
- Sexual Assault; or Sexual Assault on a Child (only in cases in which the victim was unknown to the inmate)
Senior attorneys and a senior investigator at the Attorney General’s Office conduct thorough investigations of every case; however, the work of the JRP is truly a collaborative effort. The JRP works closely with the Colorado Department of Corrections, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, members of the defense bar, the Office of the Colorado State Public Defender and the Office of Alternate Defense Counsel, law enforcement agencies across the state and, notably, with the elected District Attorney’s Offices across Colorado who, without exception, actively cooperate with the JRP requests for access to trial files and evidence.
Such collaboration led to the JRP-led exoneration of Robert Dewey in April of 2012. Mr. Dewey had been incarcerated for the 1994 rape and murder of a young woman in Palisade, Colorado. The JRP investigated the case and funded the DNA that testing led to Mr. Dewey’s exoneration in collaboration with the Mesa County District Attorney’s Office.
Any questions regarding the Attorney General’s Justice Review Project may be directed to:
First Assistant Attorney General