On March 6, 2013, Rep. Pete Lee and Sen. Linda Newell introduced HB 13-1254 - Concerning Restorative Justice. This summary is published here courtesy of the Colorado Bar Association’s e-Legislative Report.
Under current law, restorative justice victim-offender conferences must be initiated by the victim. As introduced, the bill modifies the requirement of victim initiation in some instances to permit district attorney or offender initiation. There is a restorative justice coordinating council established in the state court administrator’s office; the bill adds:
- A member of the parole board;
- A representative from the department of corrections;
- A representative from a statewide organization representing victims; and
- A restorative justice practitioner.
The restorative justice coordinating council shall develop a uniform restorative justice satisfaction evaluation. The council shall collect information regarding all existing restorative justice programs and practices and report that data to the house and senate judiciary committees by January 31, 2014.
The bill creates a pilot project for restorative justice programs in four judicial districts. At each site, if a juvenile who is under 18 years of age and could be charged in the petition with a misdemeanor and has not been previously charged or who has not participated in the pilot project, the district attorney shall assess the juvenile’s suitability for restorative justice. The district attorney may also refer any juvenile who is charged with a class 3, 4, 5, or 6 felony and has not been previously charged or who has not participated in the pilot project. If the district attorney determines that the juvenile is a suitable candidate for the restorative justice program, the district attorney may offer the juvenile an opportunity to participate in the restorative justice program. If the juvenile agrees to participate, the district attorney shall not file charges pending completion of the program. If the juvenile fails to complete the program, the district attorney may file a petition against the juvenile. The pilot project sites must annually report to the division of criminal justice in the department of public safety certain information on the pilot projects. The division of criminal justice shall prepare an annual report based on the information received.
The bill creates a $10 surcharge on all crimes to support a restorative justice fund. The fund will be used to defray the costs of restorative justice programs and administrative costs of the restorative justice coordinating council.
On March 26, the Judiciary Committee amended the bill and sent it to the Finance Committee.