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Colorado Advocates Win Direct-File Victory

May 1, 2012
Omote Ekwotafia

juvenile-justice-reform_celebration-stars-partyYouth in trouble with the law in Colorado now have the right to judicial review before being transferred to the adult criminal justice system.

On April 20, Gov. Hickenlooper signed House Bill 1271 into law, thanks in large part to the work of NJJN's Colorado members. The Colorado Juvenile Defender Coalition led the effort in partnership with the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar and the support of the Pendulum Foundation. Under HB 1271, prosecutors no longer have unilateral discretion to transfer youth to the adult criminal justice system.

The new law:

  • Raises the minimum age of direct file to 16;
  • Limits the offenses to the most serious crimes (class 1, 2, violent sex offenses) and to repeat offenses (mid-level violent crimes and other sex offenses with prior felony adjudication);
  • Provides for reverse transfer hearings (to occur at the time of preliminary hearing);
  • Reforms youth sentencing (no mandatory minimums for mid-level crimes of violence, optional juvenile treatment for certain offenses, and misdemeanor convictions have to be dealt with in juvenile court).

Read CJDC's publication on direct-file laws »


Illustration: "Celebration;" free for commericial use.

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