Juvenile prosecution is a highly specialized unit of prosecutors, victim witness specialists and investigators all committed to focusing on juvenile prosecution and working with juveniles involved in the criminal justice system. Case topics include, but are not limited to: school weapon and threat cases, sexting, drug use and possession, sexual assaults on children, burglary, aggravated robbery, aggravated motor vehicle theft, credit card and identity theft, and gang-related crimes.
The Juvenile Unit is comprised of one Chief Deputy District Attorney, three full-time Deputy District Attorneys, four half-time Deputy District Attorneys; and four Victim-Witness Specialists. The Unit also has a Senior Deputy and Victim Witness Specialist in Lincoln County, and a Senior Deputy and Victim Witness Specialist in Elbert County.
In 2015, the Juvenile Unit filed 1,406 cases. The unit diverted 31% of all filed cases to the Juvenile Diversion Program.
Juvenile prosecutors’ work on increasing awareness of the serious impact juvenile offenders have on communities. Specifically, there has been a marked upswing in terms of home and business burglaries.
Based on the best practices belief that juveniles succeed best with the least invasive law enforcement contacts, juvenile prosecutors and specialists participate in a range of multi-agency task forces and committees with law enforcement and other partner professionals. This level of participation is unprecedented in the 18th JD:
- The Arapahoe Chief Deputy attends and serves as President of the board of the Juvenile Services Planning Commission, which determines funding for juvenile after-school programs, pre-trial services, educational and individualized therapy programs, and the Family Resource Center.
- Juvenile prosecutors serve on the Juvenile Sex Offender task force, the Metro Auto-theft task force and the Serious Habitual Offender task force where professionals from various organizations come together to address these specialized issues.
- Douglas prosecutors participate in an unusual “crossover” program where they confer with a variety of professionals about juveniles involved with other systems like the Department of Human Services to devise an appropriate plan for the juveniles.
- The Arapahoe Chief Deputy is the DA’s representative to the Minority Over-Representation Committee. This organization is a nationally-funded study of two communities in the country, one of which is Arapahoe County. This organization is exploring ways to reduce the number of minorities in the juvenile justice system and detention.
- Arapahoe juvenile prosecutors actively participate in the court-sponsored Human Trafficking committee which is developing systems and protocols to help juveniles trapped into prostitution and other crimes
- Juvenile prosecutors attend monthly law enforcement meetings to learn of their specific problems and target crime trends. They also provide trainings to school resource officers within the 18th
- The Arapahoe Chief Deputy attended the Models for Change conference in Washington, D.C. to learn what is being done nationwide in juvenile justice system reform as well as federally-available resources.
- The juvenile prosecutors have been active in the Colorado District Attorney’s Council’s efforts to allow the sharing of legal research and experience across judicial district lines
- The Juvenile Unit confers with other district attorney’s offices throughout Colorado to learn what programs they have developed, which could be implemented in the 18th to improve our juvenile justice system as well as visiting a variety of juvenile detention facilities.
- Juvenile prosecutors are assigned and assist in the most serious juvenile cases which are filed directly into district court as adult cases.