April 24, 2017

SB 17-021: Establishing a Program for Support of Mentally Ill Persons when Released from Department of Corrections

On January 11, 2017, Sen. Beth Humenik and Rep. Jonathan Singer introduced SB 17-021, “Concerning Reentry Services for Persons with Mental Illness in the Criminal Justice System, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation.”

Legislative Oversight Committee Concerning the Treatment of Persons with Mental Illness in the Criminal and Juvenile Justice Systems.

The bill directs the division of housing in the department of local affairs to establish a program to provide vouchers and supportive services to persons with a mental illness who are being released from the department of corrections (DOC) or jails. The program is funded by general fund appropriations and from money unspent by the division of criminal justice (CDPS) for community corrections programs in the previous fiscal year.

The bill directs the behavioral health unit in the department of human services, in conjunction with the DOC, to implement reentry programs to assist persons with a mental illness who are transitioning from incarceration. If necessary, the programs may receive money from the community corrections appropriation to CDPS.

The bill appropriates $2.7 million to the department of local affairs.

The bill was introduced in the Senate and assigned to the Judiciary Committee. It is scheduled for hearing in committee on February 15 at 1:30 p.m.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Victim Intimidation Statute Applies only to Criminal Cases, not Civil Actions

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in People v. Johnson on Thursday, January 26, 2017.

RetaliationWitnessCivilOther Bad ActsJury DeliberationsLimiting Instruction.

The Colorado Department of Human Services (DHS) took custody of Johnson’s two children based on information from Ranals. Later, Johnson and his girlfriend drove to a DHS office, but the office was closed. Before leaving, Johnson fired shots into a vehicle in the parking lot that appeared similar to the vehicle driven by the DHS employees who had removed the children. Johnson then drove to Ranals’s home and fired several shots into her house.

At trial, Johnson moved for a mistrial and later a new trial, based on Ranals’s testimony. Both motions were denied. A jury convicted Johnson of several counts, including retaliation against a witness or victim. The prosecution’s theory in support of the witness retaliation charge was that Johnson shot into Ranals’s home because she had reported him to DHS and he believed she might be a witness in the dependency and neglect proceedings against him.

On appeal, Johnson contended that the C.R.S. § 18-8-706 offense of retaliation against a witness applies only to retaliation against a witness because of the witness’s relationship to a criminal proceeding. The Colorado Court of Appeals examined the statute and its legislative history and concluded that C.R.S. § 18-8-706 applies only to retaliation against witnesses or victims because of their relationship to criminal, and not civil, proceedings. Because the prosecution only presented evidence regarding Ranals’s perceived involvement in a dependency and neglect proceeding, Johnson’s conduct could not have constituted witness retaliation under this statute.

Johnson also contended that the trial court erroneously denied his motion for a mistrial and erroneously denied his post-verdict motion for a new trial. At trial, Ranals made a statement referencing Johnson’s acts of domestic violence, despite the trial court’s prior ruling that evidence of Johnson’s other bad acts was inadmissible. The court properly exercised its discretion by directing the jury to disregard Ranals’s statement to ensure that Johnson would not be unfairly prejudiced. Further, Ranals’s statement was part of her trial testimony; the jury was not exposed to information or influences outside of the trial process. Thus, it was not extraneous information as contemplated by CRE 606(b).

The witness retaliation conviction was vacated and the judgment of conviction on the remaining convictions was affirmed.

Summary provided courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

SB 17-012: Specifying Procedures for Restoring Competency in Juvenile and Criminal Justice Systems

On January 11, 2017, Sen. Beth Humenik and Rep. Pete Lee introduced SB 17-012, “Concerning Competency Restoration Services for Defendants Deemed Incompetent to Proceed.”

Legislative Oversight Committee Concerning the Treatment of Persons with Mental Illness in the Criminal and Juvenile Justice Systems.

The bill addresses various issues relating to the restoration of competency for juveniles and adults in the juvenile and criminal justice systems, including:

  • Requiring the court to consider whether restoration to competency services should occur on an outpatient basis if the defendant is on bond or summons;
  • Requiring that, in addition to providing competency restoration services in the least restrictive environment, the provision of such services and a juvenile’s participation in those services occur and are reviewed by the court in a timely manner;
  • Establishing the unit within the department of human services that administers behavioral health programs and services, including those relating to mental health and substance abuse, also known as the office of behavioral health (office), as the entity responsible for the oversight of restoration education and the coordination services necessary to competency restoration; and
  • Setting forth the duties of the office related to competency restoration services and education.

The bill was introduced in the Senate and assigned to the Judiciary Committee. It is scheduled for hearing in committee on February 6 at 1:30 p.m.

HB 17-1064: Creation of Crime of Misuse of Electronic Images by a Juvenile

On January 11, 2017, Rep. Yeulin Willett and Sen. Rhonda Fields introduced HB 17-1064, “Concerning Creating the Crime of Misuse of Electronic Images by a Juvenile.”

The 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 to the distribution offense if the juvenile committed the act as a result of coercion, intimidation, or harassment. It is an affirmative defense to the possession offense if the juvenile:

  • Did not solicit or request to be supplied with the image or images; and
  • Did not participate in or encourage the making of the image or images; and
  • Did not transmit or distribute the image or images to another person; and
  • 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.

The bill was introduced in the House and assigned to the Judiciary Committee.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Probate Court Had Jurisdiction to Appoint Temporary Co-Guardians

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in In the Interest of L.B. on Thursday, January 12, 2017.

Probate—Child—Subject Matter Jurisdiction—Guardianship—Home State.

L.B.’s mother died and her father, Berzins, hired Dusalijeva as L.B.’s nanny. Later, they developed a romantic relationship. Berzins had and L.B. has dual citizenship in the United States and Latvia. Berzins died in 2015 in Denver. He had two wills: a 2012 Will executed in Latvia, and a 2014 Will executed in Denver. The 2014 Will expressly revoked all prior wills and left the residuary estate in trust for the benefit of L.B. and Blumberg (Berzins’s other daughter) or Blumberg’s descendants.

In March, May, and July 2015, the court appointed Dusalijeva and Blumberg as temporary co-guardians, initially at their request. In April 2015, without informing the Denver Probate Court, Dusalijeva moved for sole guardianship of L.B. in Latvia. After a four-day hearing, the Denver probate court appointed Blumberg and a Latvian couple, the Carlins, as permanent co-guardians of L.B. in August 2015. Ultimately, the Latvian appellate court found that Dusalijeva and her attorney had attempted to deceive the Latvian orphan’s court by relying on the superseded 2012 Will and failing to inform the court of the 2014 Will, and it concluded that matters regarding L.B. should be determined by a U.S. court.

On appeal, Dusalijeva primarily contended that the probate court lacked subject matter jurisdiction. First, she contended that the court lacked jurisdiction under C.R.S. § 15-14-204(5) and (1) on the three occasions it temporarily appointed her and Blumberg as co-guardians. Based on the Colorado Court of Appeals’ review of the record, the court had jurisdiction under C.R.S. § 15-14-204(5). The probate court also had jurisdiction under C.R.S. § 14-13-204(1) because L.B. had been “abandoned” within the meaning of the statute.

Dusalijeva next contended that the probate court lacked permanent subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to C.R.S. § 14-13-204(2). Subsection (2) is arguably inapplicable in this case because the court did not say that its temporary orders appointing co-guardians would become permanent. Instead, the court held a hearing in August 2015 to determine independently who should be L.B.’s permanent guardian. The court did not decide this issue because it found the probate court had jurisdiction under C.R.S. § 14-13-201.

Dusalijeva also appeared to contend that the probate court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to determine permanent guardianship under C.R.S. § 14-13-201(1). The probate court properly exercised subject matter jurisdiction because Colorado was found to be L.B.’s home state. Further, even if Latvia had adopted a provision in substantial conformity with C.R.S. § 14-13-201(1)(a), the Latvian courts declined to exercise jurisdiction, ruling that Colorado was a more appropriate forum.

The court also considered and rejected six other alleged errors by the probate court and declined to address several arguments that Dusalijeva raised for the first time in her reply brief.

The orders were affirmed.

Summary provided courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Time Frame for Appeal of Paternity Determination Arises from C.A.R. 4

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in People in Interest of N.S. on Thursday, January 12, 2017.

Dependency and Neglect— Juvenile Court Jurisdiction—Paternity Adjudication.

The El Paso County Department of Human Services (the Department) filed a dependency and neglect petition on behalf of N.S. The mother’s boyfriend was listed as respondent-father, and the child was placed with him. At a pretrial conference, the juvenile court found that the boyfriend had not been adjudicated the child’s legal father and therefore ordered genetic paternity testing. The juvenile court adjudicated N.S. dependent and neglected. The Department subsequently amended the petition to list A.C. as respondent-father. A.C. was confirmed to be the biological father through genetic paternity testing. Following a paternity hearing, the juvenile court adjudicated A.C. as the child’s legal father.

Boyfriend appealed and the Colorado Court of Appeals issued an order to show cause why his appeal should not be dismissed pursuant to the time frames of C.A.R. 3.4(b)(1). Boyfriend responded that his appeal was governed by C.A.R. 4(a). The court ordered the parties to brief (1) whether the notice of appeal was due within 21 days of the date of the final, appealable order under C.A.R. 3.4; and (2) whether the juvenile court had jurisdiction to issue the judgment of paternity in a dependency and neglect proceeding.

The court first concluded that the plain language of C.A.R. 3.4 shows that the rule does not apply to paternity actions. C.A.R. 4 does not list specific orders that are appealable, and in the absence of any limiting language, its 49-day time frame applied.

The court then stated that the juvenile court has exclusive original jurisdiction in dependency and neglect proceedings to determine parentage. But when a paternity issue arises in these proceedings, the juvenile court must follow the Uniform Parentage Act (UPA) procedures. Here, both presumptive fathers were parties to the proceeding, had actual notice that a legal finding of paternity was necessary, and did not object to the juvenile court deciding the matter. Accordingly, the juvenile court had subject matter jurisdiction under the UPA.

The judgment was affirmed.

Summary provided courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Colorado Court of Appeals: High School Student’s Tweets Did Not Constitute True Threats or Fighting Words

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in People in Interest of R.D. on Thursday, December 30, 2016.

Social Media—Juvenile Delinquent—Harassment—First Amendment—Right to Free Speech—True Threats—Fighting Words.

R.D., a high school student, argued with a student from a different high school through tweets on the social networking website Twitter. The People filed a petition in delinquency against R.D., and the district court adjudicated R.D. a juvenile delinquent based on conduct that would constitute harassment if committed by an adult.

On appeal, R.D. argued that C.R.S. § 18-9-111(1)(e) as applied to his conduct violated his First Amendment right to free speech. The People responded that R.D.’s statements were not protected by the First Amendment because they were true threats and fighting words. While the language of R.D.’s tweets was violent and explicit, R.D.’s tweets did not constitute true threats because they were not “a serious expression of an intent to commit an act of unlawful violence to a particular individual or group of individuals.” Fighting words can occur only when the speaker is in close physical proximity to the recipient. R.D. was not in close physical proximity to A.C. at the time of the incident. Because R.D.’s statements were neither true threats nor fighting words, the statute as applied violated his First Amendment rights.

The judgment was reversed and the case was remanded with directions to vacate the adjudication of juvenile delinquency and dismiss the proceeding.

Summary provided courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Top Ten Programs and Homestudies of 2016: Criminal Law

The year is drawing to a close, which means that the compliance period is ending for a third of Colorado’s attorneys. Still missing some credits? Don’t worry, CBA-CLE has got you covered.

Today on Legal Connection we are featuring the Top Ten Criminal Law Programs and Homestudies. In addition to today’s featured programs and homestudies, CBA-CLE offers several books for criminal law practitioners and many other programs. Find out more here – cle.cobar.org/Practice-Area/Criminal. And now, for the Top Ten Criminal Law Programs and Homestudies…

10. Cell Phone Privacy in the Age of Surveillance: Location Tracking, Searches, and Smart Phone Privacy
This CLE covers the basics of cell phone tracking technology, limitations on its accuracy, and strategies for cross-examining cell phone experts. It also includes a section on the legality of law enforcement searches of cell phones and strategies to keep information private. Order the Video OnDemand here and the MP3 here. Available for 1 general credit.

9. Legal Writing in Criminal Law
This program contains presentations from Robert Mark Russel of the Office of the United States Attorney on Efficient Writing, Honorable Raymond P. Moore of the United States District Court for the District of Colorado on Legal Writing and Motions Practice in Criminal Cases at the Trial Court Level, Honorable Steven L. Bernard of the Colorado Court of Appeals on “Top Ten” Observations About Legal Writing in Criminal Law Cases, Norman R. Mueller of Haddon, Morgan and Foreman, P.C., on Ethics and Legal Writing in Criminal Law Cases, Exploring Efficiency from the Perspective of Both the Reader and the Writer, Motions Practice at the Trial Court Level, and “Top Ten” Observations About Legal Writing in Criminal Law Cases. Order the Video OnDemand here, the CD homestudy here, and the MP3 here. Available for 5 general credits, including 1 ethics credit.

8. Felony DUI: The Law and Penalties
Learn the ins and outs of Colorado’s new felony DUI law, which creates a class four felony for a forth offense and also creates new sentencing schemes and alternatives for multiple offenders. Colorado recently became the 47th state to have a felony DUI charge for multiple offenders. Not only does the new law create a felony offense for fourth offenses, but it redefines the sentencing criteria for multiple offenders and gives courts more options for punishment and rehabilitation. Learn about the intricacies of the new law as well as a general DUI law update from one of Colorado’s top criminal and DUI defense attorneys, Jay Tiftickjian. Order the Video OnDemand here and the MP3 here. Available for 1 general credit.

7. The NEW Criminal Jury Instructions AND Criminal Law Motions Practice: Criminal Law Spring Update 2015
On September 3, 2014, the Colorado Supreme Court announced the release of new Model Criminal Jury Instructions. The Colorado Supreme Court Model Criminal Jury Instructions Committee developed the new model instructions since its official creation in October 2011, and intends to keep the instructions up to date by issuing periodic supplements or new editions. The entire first half of the Spring Update is devoted to the new instructions. Not only will you hear from the Reporter of Model Criminal Jury Instructions Committee, but you’ll also hear a panel presentation on how the new instructions are working. Knowing how to craft a persuasive pretrial motion is essential to your criminal law practice, whether you sit on the prosecution or defense side of the aisle. The second half is be devoted to persuasive motions practice. Order the Video OnDemand here, the CD homestudy here, and the MP3 here. Available for 7 general credits, including 1 ethics credit.

6. Search & Seizure Law in Colorado: Update and Overview
Not one word of the Fourth Amendment has changed in over 200 years, but search and seizure law is constantly evolving, as new cases are added to the Fourth Amendment mosaic. Staying current on the latest developments in this area of the law can be difficult and overwhelming. This half-day seminar will give practitioners an overview of search and seizure law, while highlighting the latest decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court and Colorado appellate courts. It is designed to be useful for both experienced criminal law experts, as well as new practitioners. Each homestudy order receives a PDF copy of the CBA-CLE book, Search & Seizure Law in Colorado, as part of the course materials for this program. Order the Video OnDemand here, the CD homestudy here, and the MP3 here. Available for 4 general credits.

5. DUI Basics: A Nuts-and-Bolts Approach
This program is geared for anyone who practices DUI defense. It is a “nuts-and-bolts” approach with a strong emphasis on defending drug-related DUI cases. The information provided will assist attorneys who have never litigated a DUI case before, as well as the most seasoned DUI defenders. With faculty members who are considered some of the best litigators in the DUI criminal bar, as well as county court judges who can explain the intricacies of DUI and sobriety court, this seminar is certain to give you the tools to succeed when representing a client facing a driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs charge. Order the Video OnDemand here, the CD homestudy here, and the MP3 here. Available for 6 general credits, including 1 ethics credit.

4. Restorative Justice
Restorative justice laws have been on the books in Colorado for over a decade. Learn what they are, what restorative justice IS and IS NOT, and how restorative justice practices can serve you and your clients. Restorative Justice Council Members Judge Martin Gonzales, Assistant District Attorney Robert Miller (19th JD) and Public Defender Elizabeth Porter-Merrill (Appellate Courts CO) join Colorado’s Restorative Justice Coordinator, Deb Witzel to dispel myths and answer your questions. Order the Video OnDemand here and the MP3 here. Available for 2 general credits.

3. Juvenile Jurisprudence: Criminal Law Fall Update 2016
Join Colorado Supreme Court Justice Brian Boatright as he shares United States Supreme Court jurisprudence on juvenile law with you. Then renowned expert Mark Evans will discuss collateral consequences of a conviction in a juvenile case. Next, Dr. Birgit Fisher will lead a fascinating talk on how the risk-need-responsivity model has been used with increasing success to assess and rehabilitate offenders. Get insight on juvenile transfer hearings, as well as sentencing challenges and the unique ethical challenges in juvenile delinquency cases. Your day will end with a panel presentation of young people who will share their experiences about the juvenile detention system in Colorado, including the legal ramifications. Order the Video OnDemand here, the CD homestudy here, and the MP3 here. Available for 7 general credits, including 1 ethics credit.

2. DUI and DUID: Advanced Practice
Do you represent clients facing driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs charges? This program will assist seasoned DUI and DUID defenders to better represent their clients. It will also provide those of you who want to defend, or who have been asked to defend, DUI or DUID cases, with important knowledge as well as an update on major issues impacting those cases. The typical, and not so typical, nuances and skills in defending alcohol and drug-related DUI cases, will also be addressed by your faculty of experts. Order the Video OnDemand here, the CD homestudy here, and the MP3 here. Available for 7 general credits.

1. The Art and Science of Jury Selection: Criminal Law Spring Update 2016
The right to trial by jury in criminal cases is guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, as well as the laws of every state. “Voir dire,” is Latin for “to speak the truth.” In voir dire, the judge and attorneys for both sides ask potential jurors questions to determine if they are competent and suitable to serve in the case. Most attorneys would agree there is both a science and an art to voir dire, and that your case can either be won or lost at this stage. Order the Video OnDemand here, the CD homestudy here, and the MP3 here. Available for 6 general credits, including 1 ethics credit.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Any Relevance of Polygraph Examination Overly Prejudicial and Confusing to Jury

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in People in Interest of G.E.S. on Thursday, December 15, 2016.

Dependency and Neglect—Sexual Abuse—Evidence—Psychosexual Evaluation—Polygraph Examination—Child Hearsay.

Father’s 12-year-old stepdaughter, J.O-E., made allegations of father’s inappropriate sexual behavior toward her to her therapist. She made additional allegations in a recorded forensic interview. Shortly thereafter, J.O-E. recanted her story. In the meantime, the family voluntarily cooperated with the Department of Human Services (Department) and followed the Department’s recommended safety plan, which required father to leave the family home and have no contact with his infant child G.E.S. or any of his three stepchildren. Father took a psychosexual evaluation, but because he refused to take a polygraph examination, the Department filed a dependency and neglect petition as to G.E.S. Father denied the allegations and requested a jury trial. At a pre-trial hearing, the court determined that J.O-E. was unavailable to testify, and at trial, admitted her hearsay statements without her testifying. The court also ruled that the probative value of evidence regarding the evaluation and polygraph refusal outweighed its prejudicial effect and allowed this evidence. After the jury returned its verdict, the court entered judgment adjudicating G.E.S. dependent and neglected.

On appeal, father contended that the district court erred in admitting evidence that he underwent a psychosexual evaluation and refused to undergo a polygraph examination. Under the Children’s Code, father had no duty to cooperate by completing a psychosexual evaluation and polygraph. Further, evidence of polygraph test results is per se inadmissible at an adjudicatory trial because they are not reliable. Here, the prejudicial impact of both the polygraph evidence and evidence of father’s partial cooperation with the Department’s request that he complete its evaluative processes required reversal.

Father also contended that the court erred in admitting J.O-E.’s hearsay statements. Under CRS § 13-25-129(1), an out-of-court statement made by a child describing an unlawful sexual offense, which would otherwise be inadmissible, is admissible if the court determines that (1) the time, content, and circumstances of the statements provide sufficient safeguards of reliability; and (2) the child either testifies at trial or is unavailable as a witness and there is corroborative evidence of the act that is the subject of the statements. Here, father did not challenge the court’s findings that the statements were reliable and that corroborative evidence supported J.O-E.’s statements. The Court of Appeals agreed with the district court that the Sixth Amendments’ Confrontation Clause does not extend to dependency and neglect cases, and the record supported the finding that J.O.-E. was not available to testify, because testifying would gravely harm her mental and emotional health. Thus, the court did not abuse its discretion in admitting J.O-E.’s hearsay statements.

The judgment was reversed and the case was remanded for a new trial.

Summary provided courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

When Your Client’s Kid Needs Help: Juvenile Criminal Justice for Every Attorney

pow6qw4fks1i955Every lawyer has had the experience of their client asking questions about an area of law in which they don’t practice. A tax lawyer may field questions about her client’s DUI matter. An immigration attorney may receive a question from his client about preparing an estate plan. A domestic relations attorney may hear questions about her client’s business. Regardless of an attorney’s area of expertise, clients will ask legal questions and expect informed answers.

So what do you do when your client tells you his kid might be in trouble with the law? Because few matters are more important to a parent than the well-being of his or her child, knowing what to say and when to recommend that your client seek a juvenile defense attorney is vital.

From the legalization of marijuana in Colorado to the perils of social media, kids live in a different world than a generation ago. These days, it seems there are more and more ways for kids to find themselves in trouble with the law, not because of criminal intent, but because the children or their families do not understand what behavior the law criminalizes. The pitfalls kids face in the criminal system and school disciplinary settings can be extraordinary, and the consequences can be far-reaching—even lifelong.

In seeking to protect the client’s children from lifelong consequences, it is imperative and ethically required for an attorney to fully understand the laws applicable to the matter, or to find someone who specializes in juvenile law to provide guidance. The Criminal Code and Children’s Code are complex, and children are frequently treated differently than adults in regard to criminal matters.

On Monday, December 12, 2016, attorney Lara Marks Baker will deliver a one-hour breakfast presentation on guiding your client through juvenile criminal justice issues. This program is a great way to learn about what to do when your clients need help with their kids. Lara will highlight the federal and state laws which are frequently implicated in matters of juvenile justice, and when to signal a client that criminal or disciplinary matters may be forthcoming. Register by calling (303) 860-0608 or by clicking the links below.

CLELogo

CLE Program: When Your Client’s Kid Needs Help

This CLE presentation will occur on December 12, 2016, at the CBA-CLE offices (1900 Grant Street, Third Floor), from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Register for the live program here or register for the webcast here. You may also call (303) 860-0608 to register.

Can’t make the live program? Order the homestudy here: MP3Video OnDemand.

Colorado Gives: Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center Transforms the Lives of Abused and Neglected Children Through Compassion

Colorado Gives: CBA CLE Legal Connection will be focusing on several Colorado legal charities in the next few days to prepare for Colorado Gives Day, December 6, 2016. These charities, and many, many others, greatly appreciate your donations of time and money.

childrens-law-center-logo-gFor over thirty years, the Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center has provided compassionate legal advocacy and clinical services to children who have been abused or neglected. Through a team of legal professionals and social workers, the Children’s Law Center serves at-risk children and considers the whole child with each recommendation regarding the child’s best interest.

The Children’s Law Center also works for public policy change, working to make children a political priority at the local, state, and national levels. The Children’s Law Center has made great progress in this area. They created the first Colorado Child Protection Ombudsman Program, promoted a 2013 Senate Bill to reduce the number of child abuse fatalities in the state, promoted a 2013 House Bill to streamline the process to report child abuse, and much more.

The Children’s Law Center has several programs devoted to legal advocacy for children. The Education Program promotes the adoption of policies and procedures in the schools and legislature to recognize the impact of trauma on children’s learning behaviors, reduce school transfers for children in the child protection system, and redirect children in the school disciplinary system from the school-to-prison pipeline. The Children’s Law Center also has a caregiver advocacy program, a domestic violence program, a trauma-informed yoga program, and a therapeutic garden.

The Children’s Law Center relies on donations to continue providing compassionate legal advocacy to abused, neglected, and at-risk children. Their annual operating expenses total over one million dollars per year. Donate on Colorado Gives Day by clicking here or any day by filling out the form on this webpage.

Colorado Gives: Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network Promotes a More Humane Immigration System

Colorado Gives: CBA CLE Legal Connection will be focusing on several Colorado legal charities in the next few days to prepare for Colorado Gives Day, December 6, 2016. These charities, and many, many others, greatly appreciate your donations of time and money.

rmianThe Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network (RMIAN) is a nonprofit legal services organization that believes justice for immigrants means justice for all. RMIAN provides life-changing legal services to vulnerable immigrant children in Colorado, and to adults in immigration detention. Without this assistance from RMIAN’s attorneys, RMIAN’s child clients and individuals in detention would be forced to face immigration court hearings entirely on their own, an injustice by any standard. A national study, headed by a federal judge, found that immigrants with lawyers are five times more likely to win their cases than those without. For many, a loss in immigration court means deportation and a forced return to the persecution, abuse, or other violence from which they fled. For many others, it signifies a permanent and heartbreaking separation from spouses, partners, children, siblings, and other loved ones.  RMIAN’s programs are dedicated to ensuring legal representation, due process, and support.

RMIAN’s Detention Program has a daily presence at the immigration detention center in Aurora, Colorado, where over 900 individuals are detained on civil immigration charges every day. RMIAN’s attorneys provide know-your-rights presentations before detained individuals have to go before the immigration judge for the first time, assist with applications and case preparation, refer cases to pro bono attorneys, represent clients, and provide social service support for the most vulnerable detainees. Recent RMIAN cases involving clients in detention include a man from Somalia granted asylum on the basis of his political opinion; a longtime lawful permanent resident granted a second chance by the immigration judge to stay with his family in Colorado; a young man from Honduras granted asylum based on the persecution he would face because of his sexual orientation; and numerous clients who won bond reductions with RMIAN’s representation. In 2015, RMIAN’s Detention Program provided 209 know-your-rights presentations to over 1,700 individuals in detention, conducted over 800 individual intakes, held 33 workshops for over 100 individuals fighting their cases on their own, and provided intensive individual assistance to over 500 detainees. In addition, RMIAN’s staff attorneys and volunteer attorneys represented 59 clients in their complete immigration court cases.

RMIAN’s Children’s Program provides immigration legal services to children through Colorado. Recent clients include a young man who was granted a T visa based on being a victim of human trafficking; several children who won Special Immigrant Juvenile Status as a result of being abused, abandoned or neglected; several young crime victims and their family members who were granted U Visas; and numerous youth who were granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. In the past several years, RMIAN’s Children’s Program has seen an exponential increase in its representation of unaccompanied children who fled horrors in their home countries and who are now seeking asylum and other immigration relief before the Denver Immigration Court. In 2015, RMIAN’s Children’s program directly represented 288 children, conducted 658 intakes and consultations, and referred 205 cases to pro bono attorneys. By providing free legal services to immigrant children, as well as outreach efforts to community partners, RMIAN educates children and their families on the rights and protections to which they are entitled under federal immigration law and works to ensure that Colorado’s communities are safe.

In addition to direct legal services, RMIAN provides community education and training about immigration law, particularly as it relates to individuals in immigration detention and immigrant children. In 2015, RMIAN gave 66 presentations to 2,210 community members.

Please consider making a donation to RMIAN today to help us fulfill our values statement, “We believe that justice for immigrants means justice for all.” Donations may be mailed directly to RMIAN at 3489 West 72nd Avenue, Suite 211, Westminster, CO 80030 or via RMIAN’s website at www.rmian.org  RMIAN is participating in Colorado Gives Day on Tuesday, December 6, 2016.