A bill is making its way through the Colorado legislature that would provide compensation for individuals that have been wrongfully convicted of crimes. This proposal would allow those deemed to have been wrongfully convicted to collect up to $60,000 annually for each year that they were in prison.
We all like to think that the system works. Those who are not guilty of crimes stay out of jail and those who are guilty are sentenced appropriately. But tragically, the criminal justice system isn't perfect. That imperfection that exists among investigators and within the trial process can send innocent people to jail.
We've been tracking the Colorado sexual assault case against former Denver Bronco Perrish Cox for some time now, and the high-profile case has finally come to its end. In the most recent update about this case, we noted that a witness for the prosecution shared a supposed detail about the September night when the rape allegedly happened. He claimed that Cox had picked the victim up over his shoulders and announced that she "was ready" before taking her into his room -- where the sexual assault allegedly occurred
In previous posts, we have discussed the state's implementation of a new law, Katie's Law. The new legislation is named after a murder victim and seeks to identify suspects in Colorado criminal cases. While the law has been backed by many in the state who see it as a way to serve justice, the challengers of Katie's Law continue to question the ethics behind the measure.
Your rights to privacy today are more intact in the state of Colorado than they will probably be tomorrow. A change in law will take effect that is meant to catch violent criminals and sexual assault offenders. If arrested on suspicion of committing a felony, officers will not only have the right to take your fingerprints, but they can swab your cheek for DNA and store the information in a database if you are formally charged.
The reliance on science in cracking criminal cases is widespread, and DNA is often viewed as the slam dunk in proving someone's guilt or innocence in cases such as sex crimes. Usually, however, DNA used in investigations is limited to DNA that is directly related to the case in question. Denver's district attorney is a passionate advocate for a growing use of familial DNA in case investigations.
In 1987, Colorado woman Peggy Hettrick was murdered and sexually mutilated. In 2008, the man Larimer County thought was her murderer was released from prison. Timothy Masters completed 10 years of his life sentence, a sentence that, as it turns out, Masters did not deserve. Masters and his attorney fought the murder conviction and sentence by arguing the following: