Second Judical District
201 W, Colfax Ave, Dept. 801
Denver, CO 80202
November 10, 2021 Contact: Carolyn Tyler, Communications Director, firstname.lastname@example.org, 720-913-9025
No Meaningful Differences Found by Race or Ethnicity as to Why Cases were Dismissed or Defendants Received Deferred Judgments
DENVER—Denver District Attorney Beth McCann today announced the completion of a follow-up report to an April study that sought to explore the presence and extent of racial and ethnic differences in case outcomes within the Denver District Attorney’s Office. While the original report found no pervasive issues of racism or bias, it did identify additional opportunities for the office to ensure fair justice for all.
The original study examined felony cases accepted for prosecution by the Denver District Attorney’s (DA) Office between July 2017 and June 2018 and pointed out three areas in which people of various racial or ethnic backgrounds experienced different case outcomes. DA McCann committed to further review of these areas and did so in a timely manner and without receiving additional resources.
“We dove deeper into the initial data set to see if we could learn what was behind the reasons for disparities and to be transparent in our work,” said DA McCann. “The new report supports what I believed all along: that the Denver DA’s Office is doing a good job and is on the right track towards addressing the disproportionate representation of people of color in the criminal justice system. I believe that the results of this follow-up report, Racial Disparities in Prosecutorial Outcomes; A deeper dive on cases that were dismissed or received a deferred judgment by the Denver District Attorney’s Office in the City and County of Denver, demonstrate that we treat defendants of different racial and ethnic backgrounds with fairness.”
The follow-up study found that the reasons cases were dismissed were similar across Black, Hispanic and White defendants. Moreover, while fewer Black defendants received a deferred judgment, reasons for receiving deferred judgments were similar for White, Black, and Hispanic defendants. Racial Disparities in Prosecutorial Outcomes; A deeper dive on cases that were dismissed or received a deferred judgment by the Denver District Attorney’s Office in the City and County of Denver represents a step forward for gaining a deeper understanding of results presented in the original study and helps shine further light on two points of prosecutorial discretion: dismissed and deferred cases.
“We are pleased to have partnered with the Denver DA’s Office on this follow-up study to dive deeper into the reasons why cases were dismissed or received a deferred judgment,” said Lauren Gase, PhD, Senior Researcher/Project Director for the Colorado Evaluation and Action Lab. “This study represents another important step forward in improving prosecutorial transparency and has identified opportunities for the Denver DA’s Office to continue to support its commitment to racial equity.”
“My pledge to the people of Denver is that we will continue to be mindful of cultural and racial impacts in the work that we do and to treat people of all races and ethnic backgrounds fairly, continued DA McCann. “We must always be vigilant if we are to ensure equal justice for all.”