“Folks want a new approach to criminal justice.”
So says Gordon McLaughlin, a Colorado resident we referenced in a recent blog piece addressing upcoming elections focused on the slate of prosecutors operative across the state’s 22 judicial districts.
The thrust of our Shazam Kianpour & Associates’ October 28 blog entry was on the critically important yet often understated role that district attorneys spanning Colorado play in the criminal law system. We stressed in that post that DAs have plenary power and input spanning key justice matters ranging from charging specifics and plea deals to sentencing terms, probationary outcomes and more.
This needs to be spotlighted concerning that discretion and authority: It has become increasingly challenged in recent years, with strident calls for material reform issuing in broadly bipartisan fashion.
McLaughlin’s voice is but one of many seeking change. In fact, McLaughlin will now have a chance to act on the front line of reform. He just won the DA race in the Eighth Judicial district, a position now reverting back to a Democrat for the first time in more than 40 years.
A recent Denver Post article now reports that McLaughlin will not be alone as a victorious reformist candidate. At least one other candidate will join him as the winner of a district DA race (with perhaps still more to follow pending final voting outcomes yet pending).
The Post piece spotlights the flipped seats as “a power change that will affect how thousands of criminal cases on the Front Range are handled.”
Reform will unquestionably be a top-agenda topic next year for Colorado lawmakers. Sentencing adjustments, bail reform and enhanced police accountability are but a few of the issues that are expected to command significant attention.