Location: SCR 357
Practitioner's Perspective: The Bench
SENTENCING IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
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01:30 PM -- Practitioner's Perspective: The Bench
The committee returned to order. The Honorable David Shakes, District Court Judge, Fourth Judicial District, appeared before the committee. Judge Shakes discussed his background, and his experience as a judge working with Colorado sentencing laws. He provided examples of sentencing under existing law using specific crimes and facts.
Judge Shakes continued by discussing incarceration rates and evidence-based sentencing. Judge Shakes further discussed recidivism, its causes, and means to limit repeat offenders. He responded to a question concerning treatment mentioned in his presentation. Judge Shakes discussed community corrections. He explained that community corrections boards make decisions about sentencing offenders to community corrections, and that judges do not have the authority to overrule those determinations. Judge Shakes also explained and discussed the sentencing of habitual offenders, including the cost of incarceration. Judge Shakes encouraged the committee to make decisions based on data, and to make sure that there are resources available in the community to help manage and treat offenders.
In response to a question, Judge Shakes discussed making sentencing decisions when multiple sentence-enhancing circumstances exist. He responded to a question about sentence modifications for crimes of violence (Section 18-1.3-406, C.R.S.). Judge Shakes also responded to a question concerning the relationship between the complexity of the existing sentencing scheme and the purposes of sentencing.
Judge Shakes continued responding to questions concerning incarceration rates in the United States, prosecutorial discretion in charging crimes under the habitual offender statutes and judicial discretion in making sentencing decisions, and recommendations made by the CCJJ. Judge Shakes responded to a question concerning sentencing as a furtherance of the interests of justice.
Judge Shakes responded to a question concerning sentencing under laws that permit determining a sentence based on non-specific aggravating or mitigating factors. Judge Shakes stated that he teaches judges to use specified aggravating factors; and that he has never sentenced based on a non-specific aggravating or mitigating factor. At the request of the chair, Judge Shakes discussed problem-solving courts.