MADD’s Court Monitoring Program enlists court monitors to observe and document what happens in the courtroom during impaired driving case proceedings. The program was created to ensure that impaired driving offenders are prosecuted and justice is achieved. Court monitoring is a tool proven to affect the adjudication pro- cess and is recognized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Ad- ministration (NHTSA) as an effective countermeasure to reduce impaired driving 1 . Court monitors on the local scale can impact
the handling of impaired driving cases by their mere presence in the court room. Court monitoring is intended to enhance transparency and accountability within the criminal justice system and reduce the likelihood of repeat offenses. One way this goal is achieved is by sharing data and observa- tions with law enforcement, judges, prosecutors, and the public to promote awareness of impaired driving and ensure accountability for all impaired driving offenders. To reduce future offenses, MADD® supports swift and unbiased treatment of all impaired driving cases. 1 Richard, C. M., Magee, K., Bacon-Abdelmoteleb, P., & Brown, J. L. (2018, April). Countermeasures that work: A highway safety countermeasure guide for State Highway Safety Offic- es, Ninth edition (Report No. DOT HS 812 478). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
This report is designed to present observations and trends relative to the counties monitored and is not intended to be a statistical analysis. Colorado State Report (reporting period: 1/1/2020 – 12/31/2020)
Pending Cases Monitored:
Adjudicated Cases Monitored:
Total Cases Monitored in 2020:
*Pending cases are cases waiting a judgement result.
Dismissed/ Failed To Prosecute
*Based on initial data collected in 2020. Colorado’s Court Monitoring project is still in the early stages; therefore, further trends and gaps are not available at this time. Annual reports are released to stakeholders during October and November of each grant year.
Key Findings & Observations
Colorado is the thirteenth of seventeen states to implement Mothers Against Drunk Driving’s Court Monitoring Project. NHTSA identified Court Monitoring as a countermeasure proven for increasing convictions when selecting effective, evidence-based practices in traffic safety. A three-year CDOT Grant currently funds this project. Colorado’s Court Monitoring community-based project began in January 2019. MADD Colorado developed the Court Monitoring Project in response to receiving feedback and concerns from law enforcement and district attorney partners regarding inconsistencies in sentencing and varying approaches to impaired driving convictions across judicial districts. The project seeks to better understand current successes and challenges within the DUI process. Engaging young people as volunteer court monitors has added to program effectiveness and prevention efforts. Introduction to the Criminal Justice System has inspired many interns to aspire to work within victim services, disposition, and rehabilitation of DUI Offenders. Additionally, increasing public awareness helps shift public perception of intoxicated driving offenses and the associated consequences and serves as a reminder that drunk and drugged driving incidents and crashes are 100% preventable. MADD Colorado’s Court Monitoring Project recruits and trains volunteers and student interns to observe and collect data on misdemeanor impaired driving offenses. Court monitoring is intended to increase transparency and accountability within the Court system. Monitors collect data while observing DUI cases and extract additional information from a specific state or county-wide databases. An advisory committee reviews all aspects of the project and assists MADD Colorado in identifying an established baseline in each judicial district. Once the baseline is established, extracted data will be examined to determine if any trends, gaps, and inconsistencies exist. When supported findings are obtained, information may be presented to the bench, prosecutors, law enforcement, and other key stakeholders. Monitors are required to complete a minimum of four hours of observation per week. On average, monitors are spending nine hours per week completing their duties. State standardized data collection forms are provided to each monitor and preliminary data is collected during the observations. The remaining information is collected through record abstraction until a disposition is reached. Current data sources used in abstraction include the Denver Courts website and the State Court Administrators Office vendor, Background Information Systems (BIS). The data obtained from the two programs are not equivalent. Consequently, specific data can be collected in Denver County and not in other counties using the BIS system. Once a minimum of three years of data is available, further analysis of trends will occur.
DRIVING WHILE ABILITY IMPAIRED
MADD does not support a reduction in charges; however, a plea to a lesser charge of an impaired driving con- viction is often the most tolerable result. Unique to Colorado Law, DWAI (Driving While Ability Impaired) is charged when a law enforcement officer considers the effect of drugs or alcohol or the combination of the two to the slightest degree so that the person is less able than the person ordinarily would have been either mentally or physically or both to exercise clear judgment sufficient physical control, or due care in the safe operation of a vehicle. In 2020, the data collection system used by MADD Colorado did not capture DWAI and we are seeking to change that for future data collection. Similarities between the charges of DUI and DWAI in Colorado: o Both are general misdemeanors. o Both remain on your driving record for the rest of your life. o Any conviction for either will remain on your criminal record for life. o Both carry probation terms. o Both require you to complete treatment. o Both require Monitored Sobriety. o Both require Useful Public Service. The minimum, though, for the DWAI is 24 hours, and the minimum for the DUI is 48 hours. o Both carry with the conviction a “fine.” DUI – from $600.00 to $1,000.00 and for the DWAI from $200.00 to $500.00. o Both require payment of the Costs of Court.
o Colorado’s Court Monitoring project was fully executed in Denver, El Paso, Jefferson, Arapahoe, Douglas, Adams, Boulder, Broomfield, Weld, and Larimer Counties in 2020. o Gilpin and Teller Counties were only observed a few times. o 38 Judges overseeing DUI offenses have been observed. o Approximately 758 DUI cases have been documented. o Of the 758 cases, 568 have been resolved or adjudicated in 2020. o Anecdotal feedback was collected from law enforcement and district attorney partners regarding concerns, strengths, and areas for improvement in handling DUI cases. Judicial Officers were provided the same opportunity. However, no response was received. Information from 2020 IF YOU OR A LOVED ONE HAS BEEN AFFECTED BY DRUNK OR DRUG- IMPAIRED DRIVING, MADD IS HERE TO HELP. CALL OUR VICTIM/ SURVIVOR 24-HOUR HELPLINE AT 877-MADD-HELP (877-623-3435).
Driving a vehicle while impaired is a dangerous crime, yet continues to happen across the United States. Each year, about 1 million individuals are arrested. What happens after those arrests depends on the criminal justice system. As a MADD court monitor, you can get the insider’s perspective on the judicial system while making a vital contribution to your local community. Your presence in court and the data you collect will help make sure our laws are upheld and the criminal justice system does what it is intended to do: Keep us safe. Court monitors achieve the work of MADD’s Court Monitoring Program by doing the following:
Remind law enforcement that MADD wants to see their cases prosecuted to the fullest extend of the law
Track conviction rates and sanctions
Identify trends in offender age, gender, and blood alcohol concentration level
Notify judicial system of deficiencies
Create public outcry when weaknesses go unaddressed
For more information about court monitoring efforts in your state, please visit madd.org/courts .Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6
Made with FlippingBook Ebook Creator