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Domestic Violence Unit

The Domestic Violence team is committed to seeking justice for domestic violence victims through a model of vertical prosecution and evidence-based case work, which are consistent with empirically validated best practices in the country.

STAFFING & OVERVIEW

In 2015, recognizing the growing need to address serious domestic violence abusers and the complex dynamics that are present in these cases,  District Attorney George Brauchler created a new felony domestic violence team.

The DV team is a highly specialized unit comprised of three prosecutors, two investigators, and one Chief Deputy, each committed to serving one of the 18th JD’s most vulnerable populations.

 The team was formed using existing staff and budget in order to combat the volatile nature of domestic violence cases and their unique challenges toward creating successful prosecutions, but without raising government expenditures.

Domestic violence cases vary in type, and include:

  • Domestic violence assaults, stalking, and threats
  • Adult domestic violence sexual assaults
  • Domestic violence homicides

The DV team’s prosecutors and investigators work to obtain justice for victims and the community through numerous prosecution tools, including staffing cases through a multidisciplinary lens, collaborating with law enforcement, domestic violence experts and the probation department. The DV team’s ultimate weapon against intimate partner victimization is its effective and relentless advocacy in court, holding offenders accountable by conducting many jury trials and pursuing lengthy sentences, when appropriate, to keep our community safe.

STATISTICS

  • Approximately 250 felony domestic violence district court cases were filed in 2015. There were 13 felony domestic violence trials in Arapahoe County.
  • DV prosecutors trained and advised law enforcement and are hoping to work collaboratively with law enforcement to introduce lethality assessments in the district.
  • The DV team has worked closely with county court to upgrade the most serious cases. As a result, the DV team has filed 13 Habitual Domestic Violence Offender cases, using the habitual offender statute and holding accountable repeat DV offenders regardless of the severity of the assault.
  • Even though Colorado has, in the past, lacked a specific statute addressing domestic violence strangulation, the DV Team has consistently and aggressively utilized available legal tools on strangulation cases, including charging 1st and 2nd Degree Assault for those cases (22 filed in 2015).
  • The DV team has advocated for the creation of a felony strangulation law in Colorado.

The DV team members attend forensic interviews and work closely with the Department of Human Services to ensure the needs of children in homes of DV offenders are being addressed.

SIGNIFICANT TRIALS

  • People v. Wagner: A Boulder Police officer was stalking his ex-wife and her boyfriend. He was convicted of all counts at trial and is awaiting sentencing.
  • People v. Palmer: The defendant was convicted at trial of burning down her boyfriend’s apartment building and endangering the residents who resided there. The defendant was sentenced to 16 years in the Department of Corrections.