The Power of Colorado Prosecutors
In light of the recent suicide of internet activist, Aaron Swartz, people are starting to question the vast power which Colorado and federal prosecutors possess and the many they misuse that power. Mr. Swartz committed suicide after an aggressive federal prosecutor threatened him with added charges, stacked to make him believe he might facing a ton of time in federal prison. DAs, Courts, and Police often abuse their power for political gain. While Mr. Swartz's tragic death illustrates the misuse of prosecutorial discretion with the absolute worst results, the power of prosecutors in Adams, Jefferson, and Denver County can be just as unjust.
Even investigations that don't result in any charges can ruin lives, reputations, and drive people into bankruptcy. A Colorado prosecutor cannot be forced to dismiss charges like Disorderly Conduct (C.R.S. 18- 9-106) or Harassment (C.R.S. 18-9-111), even on a case where they know there is little evidentiary support. Instead, the only recourse to most defendants is to take a case to trial, which can be a risky prospect and is costly. Even if someone is acquitted at trial, they don't get compensated for the time, stress and expense the whole ordeal cost them. Following an acquittal, defendants need to spend more money to seal their court and arrest records. Additionally, as government agents, DAs, Courts, and Police are virtually untouchable when it comes to civil liability because they are protected by governmental immunity.
District Attorneys (and their deputies) in Broomfield, Arapahoe, and Douglas County are reelected, move on to higher office, or are promoted based on their rate of winning convictions. There is rarely any praise by the media when prosecutors dismiss charges or decline to prosecute someone in the interests of justice. In some places, just conducting trials is a basis for increased pay.
And, as in the case of Aaron Swartz, prosecutors are well within their power to threaten people with the adding of additional charges or additional counts if they do not accept a plea bargain. Too often, plea bargaining is used as a weapon. We have seen this tactic in Colorado many times.
The best defense against an over-zealous Colorado prosecutor is an equally experienced and passionate criminal defense attorney. At the O'Malley Law Office, we can help you navigate our so-called "justice system", and fight to keep prosecutors from scaring you into a bad plea bargain. So, if you are contacted by the Aurora, Lakewood, or Thornton police, be smart, exercise your right to remain silent, and call us today at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future.
For more reading on this story, click HERE. see: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/16/the-power-of-the-prosecut_n_2488653.html