2016 Legislative Session

CJDC engages in non-partisan research and legislative advocacy. For more information contact the Chair of CJDC’s Policy Committee, Hannah Proff at Hannah@lyricolorado.org, or 720-639-6576.

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In 2016, thanks to legislation championed by CJDC juvenile life without parole was eliminated! Further, CJDC worked with the ACLU to pass a bill that establishes procedures that must be followed when children are isolated in custody and creates oversight measures to monitor the use of solitary confinement by the Colorado Division of Youth Corrections.  CJDC was actively engaged in the following bills:

Senate Bill 16-180, DOC program for juvenile offenders–SIGNED BY THE GOVERNOR!

Senate Sponsors: Senators Woods and Jahn

House Sponsors: Representatives Kagan and Ransom

This bill requires the Department of Corrections to develop and implement a program for offenders who were sentenced to an adult prison for a felony offense committed while the offender was less than 18 years of age and who are determined to be appropriate for placement in the program. An offender serving a sentence for a felony committed while the offender was a juvenile may apply for placement in the program if he or she has served 20 calendar years (25 years if serving a first-degree murder sentence) of his or her sentence and has not been released on parole. In determining whether to place an offender in the program, the executive director or his or her designee shall consider certain criteria. An offender who successfully completes the program may apply to the governor for early parole. The governor may grant early parole if, in the governor’s opinion, extraordinary mitigating circumstances exist and release from custody is compatible with the safety and welfare of society. The state board of parole shall make a recommendation to the governor concerning whether early parole should be granted. This program will start accepting applicants in October 2017.

Status: This bill passed, and has been signed by the Governor.

CJDC supports the development of a program that offers juveniles who were sentenced to adult prison a meaningful opportunity for release.

Senate Bill 16-181, Sentencing Juveniles Convicted of Class 1 Felonies–SIGNED BY THE GOVERNOR!

Senate Sponsors: Senators Woods and Jahn

House Sponsors: Representatives Kagan and Dore

In Miller v. Alabama (2012), the United States Supreme Court held that imposing a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole on a juvenile is a cruel and unusual punishment prohibited by the eighth amendment to the United States constitution. In Colorado, a juvenile sentenced for a class 1 felony committed on or after July 1, 1990, and before July 1, 2006, was sentenced to a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole. This bill provides a procedure for re-sentencing these offenders. A district court may re-sentence the former juvenile to a term of life imprisonment with the possibility of parole after serving 40 years, less any earned time granted, if they were convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to JLWOP. If the individual was found guilty under a felony murder theory then the district court may find extraordinary mitigating circumstances, and re-sentence the former juvenile to 30 to 50 years in prison.

Status: This bill passed, and has been signed by the Governor.

CJDC supports the re-sentencing of the 48 people in Colorado who were unconstitutionally sentenced to mandatory life without parole sentences for acts committed while they were juveniles. 

House Bill 16-1328, Use of Restraint and Seclusion on Juveniles–SIGNED BY THE GOVERNOR!

Sponsors: Representatives Lee and McCann. This bill strengthens the safety provisions for the use of restraint and seclusion on individuals, particularly youths, who are being detained by a state or local agency. Language is added to clarify that restraint or seclusion must never be used as a punishment, sanction, or part of a treatment plan, or for retaliation, or for protection, except in the case of demonstrated emergencies. House Bill 1328 establishes procedures that must be followed when children are isolated and creates oversight measures to monitor the use of solitary confinement by the Colorado Division of Youth Corrections.

Status: This bill passed, and has been signed by the Governor.

CJDC supports limiting the use of restraint and seclusion on children.

House Bill 16-1331, Shackling in Juvenile Court

Sponsors: Representative Lontine and Senator Merrifield. This bill requires restraints on a juvenile to be removed prior to any court proceeding, except when the court determines the restraints are necessary a) To prevent physical harm to the juvenile or another person, b) To prevent disruptive courtroom behavior by the juvenile, evidenced by a history of behavior that created potentially harmful situations or presented substantial risk of physical harm; or c) To prevent the juvenile, from fleeing the courtroom, when evidenced by an escape history or other relevant factors. The prosecution, sheriff, or any other detention or pretrial personnel may request that an individual juvenile be restrained in the courtroom. The court shall provide the juvenile’s attorney an opportunity to be heard before the court allows the use of restraints on a juvenile. The court may conduct a hearing on the use of restraints without the juvenile being present.

Status: Introduced March 2, 2016; assigned to House Judiciary Committee. Passed out of House Judiciary 6-4 on March 22rd. This bill failed in the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 18, 2016.

CJDC supports ending the practice of indiscriminately shackling children and youth in juvenile court.

House Bill 16-1395, Juvenile Delinquency Record Expungement

Sponsor: Representative Lee

Under current law, a juvenile or someone on the juvenile’s behalf must petition, after an applicable waiting period of one to five years, for expungement. This bill requires the court to automatically expunge records in certain situations; in other situations, the juvenile must still petition for expungement. In cases where the juvenile has been found not gulity, the case was dismissed, or the charge was a petty, municipal, or class 2 or 3 misdemeanor that does not involve unlawful sexual behavior or domestic violence, records will be expunged immediately upon the conclusion of the case. For more serious misdemeanor offenses and first time felony offenses that are not crimes of violence and do not involve unlawful sexual behavior, records will be eligible for expungement upon the completion of a juvenile sentence through a simplified process in which the court sends a notice to the district attorney that the records are eligible for expungement, the district attorney notifies the victim, and the victim and the district attorney have the right to object to the expungement. If there is no objection, the court enters an expungement order. If there is an objection, the court holds a hearing to determine if the juvenile is sufficiently rehabilitated and whether expungement is in the best interest of the juvenile and the community. All other juveniles must file a petition to request expungement after an applicable waiting period. After the petition is filed, the court shall hold a hearing, and the court shall grant expungement if it finds that the juvenile has been rehabilitated and that expungement is in the best interest of the juvenile and the community. The bill requires written notice of the right to expungement to the juvenile.

Status: This bill was postponed indefinitely on May 5th, 2016, but CJDC hopes to reintroduce the bill in 2017.

CJDC supports simplifying the expungement process and expanding eligibility to expunge a juvenile record.

Senate Bill 16-047, No Detention for Juveniles who are Truant

Sponsor: Senator Woods

The bill prohibits a juvenile detention facility from receiving or providing care for a juvenile who violates a court order to attend school unless the juvenile is also adjudicated for a delinquent act and remains under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court for committing the delinquent act.

Status: The bill was postponed indefinitely on March 17, 2016.

CJDC supports the decriminalization and de-incarceration of children for truancy.

 Senate Bill 16-065, Restitution in Criminal Cases

Sponsor: Senator Steadman.

The bill specifies that the amount of restitution and whether interest accrues on the amount due may be negotiated as part of a plea agreement. It also specifies that a restitution order is in effect for only 2 years after the defendant’s death. Under current law, interest accrues on unpaid restitution amounts at the rate of 12% per annum. The bill provides that an order of restitution may include interest at the simple rate of 8% per annum but that it does not accrue while a defendant is incarcerated or is current on a payment. As amended, this bill allows for juveniles to expunge their records if they are currently making payments on their restitution.

Status: The bill passed and was sent to the Governor on May 12, 2016.

 CJDC supports measures that facilitate expungement of juvenile records, such as the amendment above.

House Bill 16-1058, Misuse of Electronic Images by a Juvenile

Sponsors: Representatives Willett and Fields, Senators Newell and Cooke. This bill creates the crime of misuse of electronic images by a juvenile. The offense prohibits a juvenile from knowingly distributing, displaying, or publishing through digital or electronic means, or possessing, a sexually explicit image of himself or herself or of another juvenile who, as depicted in the image, is within 4 years of age of the charged juvenile. If a juvenile is charged with the crime of misuse of electronic images by a juvenile, he or she cannot be charged with sexual exploitation of a child. It is an affirmative defense if the juvenile a) Did not solicit or request to be supplied with the image or images, b) Did not participate in or encourage the making of the image or images, c) Did not transmit or distribute the image or images to another person; and d) Took reasonable steps to either destroy or delete the images within 72 hours or reported the receipt of such image or images to law enforcement or a school official within 72 hours.

Status: This bill was postponed indefinitely on April 25, 2016.


In 2016, CJDC was monitoring the following bills:

Senate Bill 16-102, Elimination of Mandatory Sentences to Incarceration for Certain Crimes

Sponsor: Senator Kerr. Under current law, a person convicted of certain types of second degree assault and convicted of violating bail bond conditions must be sentenced to a mandatory term of incarceration. This bill removes the mandatory term of incarceration requirement in those circumstances.

Status: Passed and signed into law by the Governor on May 19, 2016.

Senate Bill 16-051, Judges Discretion Regarding Consecutive Sentences

Sponsor: Senator Johnston. Under current law, for a person convicted of 2 or more separate crimes of violence arising out of the same incident, the court must require the person to serve the resulting sentences consecutively rather than concurrently. The bill removes this requirement and returns discretion to the judge as to whether to impose sentences concurrently or consecutively when the defendant is charged with Aggravated Robbery, Assault in the Second Degree or Escape.

Status: Passed and signed into law by the Governor on May 14, 2016.

House Bill 16-1117, Record Custodial Interrogations

Sponsors: Representatives Kagan and Saine, Senators Aguilar and Cooke. The bill requires all law enforcement agencies to have audio-visual recording equipment available and policies and procedures in place for preserving custodial interrogations by January 1, 2017. A peace officer must record custodial interrogations occurring in a permanent detention facility if the peace officer is investigating a class 1 or 2 felony or a felony sexual assault. A peace officer does not have to record the interrogation if a) The defendant requests that the interrogation not be recorded and the defendant’s request is preserved by electronic recording or in writing, b) The recording equipment fails, c) The recording equipment is unavailable, either through damage or extraordinary circumstances, d) Exigent circumstances related to public safety prevent recording; or e) The interrogation takes place outside of Colorado.

Status: Passed and sent to the Governor on May 18, 2016.

House Bill 16-1263, Racial Profiling

Sponsors: Representative Williams and Senator Ulibarri. This bill expands the prohibition on racial profiling to prohibit profiling based on race, ethnicity, gender, national origin, language, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, or disability.

Status: Passed and sent to the Governor on May 5, 2016.

 House Bill 16-1309, Right to Counsel in Certain Municipal Court Cases

Sponsors: Representative Lontine, Senator Marble. At the time of first appearance on a municipal charge, if the defendant is in custody and the charged offense includes a possible sentence of incarceration, the court shall appoint counsel to represent the defendant for purposes of the initial appearance unless, after a full advisement, the defendant makes a knowing, intelligent, and voluntary waiver of his or her right to counsel. If the defendant remains in custody, the appointment of counsel continues until the defendant is released from custody. If the defendant is released from custody, he or she may apply for court-appointed counsel, and the court shall appoint counsel if the court determines that the defendant is indigent and the charged offense includes a possible sentence of incarceration.

Status: Passed and sent to the Governor on May 11, 2016.

Senate Bill 16-075, DNA Collection Misdemeanor Vulnerable Persons

Sponsors: Representatives Lawrence and Pabon, Senators Johnston and Cooke.

Under current law, an offender convicted of a misdemeanor involving unlawful sexual conduct must provide a DNA sample for inclusion in the Colorado bureau of investigation’s DNA database. The bill would require collection of a DNA sample from a person convicted of any of the following misdemeanors: Third degree assault, Menacing, Reckless endangerment, Theft, Criminal mischief, Child abuse, Violation of a protection order, Solicitation of a prostitute; Harassment.

Status: This bill was postponed indefinitely on March 29, 2016.