Paper Finds Discrepancies In CO DUI Sentences


The Denver Post reports that Colorado’s repeat drunken drivers pay vastly different prices for their crimes, despite a state law that is supposed to mean jail for all of them. The paper analyzed four years of sentencing data and found cases of people with as many as seven drunken-driving arrests who avoided going to jail and were allowed to serve alternative sentences, sometimes including home detention.

The Post analysis of data compiled by the Office of the State Court Administrator between 2005 and 2008 also found an Arapahoe County judge who issued jail sentences in more than 90 percent of those repeat cases and judges in neighboring Adams County who locked up defendants in similar cases less than 40 percent of the time. The discrepancy, according to judges, lawyers and other experts, is the result of the collision between judicial philosophy and legal interpretation against the overriding reality of full jails.

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