As one of the largest and busiest prosecutors’ offices in the state, we address a vast number and wide variety of cases and we strive to find justice in each one. We know that every case – from graffiti to domestic violence to shoplifting to assaults – affects a member of this community. So we treat each case, each victim, each defendant with respect, compassion, and a commitment to excellent services. Our attorneys, victim specialists, and administrative staff approach each day in the office as more than just a job. We know we affect people’s lives daily and are committed to delivering the highest quality of services possible.
The Prosecution and Code Enforcement Section (also known as "PACE") is composed of 23 attorneys who prosecute all traffic infractions, some minor state violations, and all municipal ordinance matters, including:
- General Sessions and General Violations cases,
- domestic violence cases,
- City code enforcement, and
- juvenile matters.
PACE also represents the City in:
- nuisance abatement matters,
- excise and license matters,
- mental health commitments,
- drug and alcohol commitments, and
- developmental disabilities commitments.
Each year, the Prosecution and Code Enforcement Section handles over 27,000 criminal and code violation cases, 115,000 traffic cases, 350 excise and license matters, 1,170 mental health and drug and alcohol commitments, and 1,300 nuisance abatement cases. Our staff work in nine courtrooms and staff three specialty dockets, including:
- the Chrysalis docket, a program at the forefront of treatment for prostitutes that helps the women build life skills and offers housing support, drug and alcohol treatment, victim services, and education;
- the Court to Community docket, designed to address recidivism by helping defendants who have significant mental health issues and substance abuse issues; and
- the Homeless Court, designed to remove legal barriers for homeless individuals seeking employment, housing, and other social stability.
Led by Section Director Vince DiCroce, PACE has on staff 48 lawyers, victim specialists, investigators, and administrative staff who
The goal of the Victim Resource Program. is to enhance the safety of victims, increase the participation of victims in the criminal justice process, and link victims with more services. The Victim Resource Program provides services to victims in two arraignment courtrooms, three trial courtrooms and in Juvenile Court. In 2012, we had a total of 5,144 new cases involving victims. Beyond assisting victims through the court process, the victim specialists also provide a risk assessment, safety planning, emergency funds, and coordination of community-based services as well as assistance with protection order and restitution paperwork.
Small crimes can result in big problems. If not addressed fully and sufficiently, neighborhood crime has the power to ripple into community disintegration: property values decrease, safety is compromised, businesses suffer, and neighbors retreat from one another in fear and distrust. People living in Denver want and deserve the highest quality of life in their neighborhoods.
PACE formed its Neighborhood Prosecution Team in 2011 and in 2012 saw a year of growth and relationship building. Projects in 2012 included:
- Addressing graffiti in the Alamo Placita neighborhood,
- Creating and working to contain those on the Top 10 Offender List in the Upper Santa Fe neighborhood,
- Training Denver Police officers on how to enforce criminal trespass and noise complaints,
- Implementing area restrictions for repeat offenders,
- Partnering with the Denver Police Department on the Homeless Outreach Team,
- Addressing repeat problems in Triangle Park,
- Staffing the 2300 arraignment courtroom to screen cases for repeat offenders resulting in neighborhood quality-of-life issues. This has resulted in identifying and consequencing repeat offenders in parks and neighborhoods.
PACE has broadened the prosecutor’s role from adjudicating cases to working with neighborhoods to proactively prevent crimes. We use a four-prong approach: 1) build and strengthen neighborhood relationships, 2) give residents a voice in identifying problems and solutions, 3) collaboratively determine priority issues to best benefit the community, and 4) work with the police and community members to address the prioritized issues. In this way, we are making Denver a better place to live, one neighborhood at a time. To speak with a Neighborhood Prosecutor, call 720.913.8095.
Our domestic violence prosecution team begins working with new cases immediately prior to the first court appearance – while the defendant is still in custody. This team contacts victims prior to the court appearance to begin assessing risk, discuss safety planning, address immediate needs (grocery cards, transportation to court), and empower the victim to have a voice in the criminal justice process. Our office provides at the municipal case level extensive victim services to prevent further acts of violence that, if left unaddressed, might escalate to felony-level crimes, possibly future homicides.
We actively collaborate with the District Attorney’s Office, Denver Police Department, Project Safeguard, Colorado Legal Services, Probation, SafeHouse Denver, and the Denver Domestic Violence Coordinating Council to “triage” new domestic violence cases to further assess risk factors, refile cases when appropriate, and proactively link victims with services. In 2012, the Triage team coordinated services for 1,025 victims.
The City Attorney’s Office is committed to the aggressive prosecution of domestic violence cases. Because a criminal case is brought on behalf o the City, the victim of any case cannot drop charges. This also relieves the victim of domestic violence from any undue pressure to drop charges.
For more information on intimate partner violence / domestic violence, see our Victim Resource Program page.
The City Attorney’s Office has taken a leadership role to develop a coordinated response to elder abuse. In 2010, we created the Justice Program for Older Adults of Denver, a coordinated community response team that meets monthly to identify gaps in services for older victims, host on-going training, and provide e-consultation on difficult cases. In 2011, the City Attorney’s Office, in partnership with Adult Protective Services and the District Attorney’s Office, created The Denver Forensic Collaborative for At-Risk Adults to bring together experts from system and community agencies to review cases of abuse and exploitation that are the most complex and/or at risk of imminent harm. This multidisciplinary team, the first of its kind in Colorado, reviews cases of suspected physical abuse, sexual abuse, financial abuse/exploitation, neglect or self-neglect, or a combination thereof which rise to the level of imminent harm. The participants take immediate action to better protect the victim and contain the offender(s). The DFCAA is also improving the long-term communication and coordination among the legal, medical, social services, and other professionals who investigate and intervene in cases of elder and dependent adult abuse. To talk with someone regarding a suspected case of elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation, call Adult Protective Services at 720.944.2994 or call our office at 720.913.4979.