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September 2, 2007

Fascinating juve clemency development in Colorado

A helpful reader sent me this link to a recent press release from the office of Colorado Governor Bill Ritter announcing that "he has established a seven-member Juvenile Clemency Advisory Board to review clemency and commutation requests by juveniles who were tried as adults and sentenced to state prison."  Gov. Ritter issued Executive Order B-009-07 to create the Juvenile Clemency Board, and here are snippets from its statement of purpose and mandate:

The purpose of the Board is to make advisory recommendations of executive clemency to the Governor, specifically for persons who were juveniles tried as adults and are serving sentences(s).  This Board shall advise the Governor on the screening of applications for juveniles offenders, tried as adults, requesting or petitioning for a commutation of sentence....

The Juvenile Clemency Board may make favorable recommendations for clemency to serve the interests of justice as determined by the Juvenile Clemency Board and make favorable recommendations for commutation of sentence to:

i. Recognize exemplary rehabilitation and institutional behavior;

ii. Aid offenders suffering from catastrophic or terminal medical, mental or physical conditions as determined by the Juvenile Clemency Board;

iii. Reward acts of heroism by inmates who prevent risk or injury to staff, citizens, or other inmates;

iv. Address sentencing disparities and correct inequities within the Colorado criminal justice system.

September 2, 2007 at 03:07 PM | Permalink


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I still dont understand how can it be constitutional to tried Minors as adults, when they are denied all constitutional rights and priviledges that comes with being an adult.

Posted by: EJ | Sep 2, 2007 8:01:02 PM

One more thing, The sumpreme court ruled that minors could not be sentenced to death, therefore they are too young to receive an adult punishment.

Posted by: EJ | Sep 2, 2007 8:02:12 PM

This is a step in the right direction but it does not go far enough in my opinion. There does not appear to be any mechanism for independent oversight in my state (Iowa) of juvenile detention.

On the other hand the adult jail is inspected by the state jail inspector and the inspectors report is provided to the press and is reviewed at a meeting of the County Board of Supervisors. The County Attorney also has the grand jury visit the jail and their report is treated the same way as the state jail inspectors report.

The only information that is made public for juvenile detention is the budget. If the state makes an inspection the results of the inspection are not made public and it does not appear that the grand jury visits the juvenile detention facility. The experience with juvenile detention in Texas should be a wake up call for the entire country.

In our county juveniles who are waived to adult court are held in a jail in another county that is authorized to hold juveniles. That jail is inspected but we do not get a copy of the inspectors report.

One of the problems is that there appears to be general agreement that only juveniles who are "out-of-control" should be placed in a juvenile detention facility. But there is no general agreement of what "out-of-control" means. It used to be that the typical juvenile detainee was a 16 year old charged with a felony now we have 16 year olds charged with misdemeanors and felonies. If that we a well known fact I think a lot of people would start asking questions about why some of these kids are incarcerated.

What I would like to see at the very minimum is a board of visitors who visit juvenile detention facilities at least once a year and make a verbal and written report to the Board of Supervisors of their findings.

Posted by: JSN | Sep 2, 2007 10:31:25 PM

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