Most criminal justice in Colorado comes through plea deals, but DAs don’t track whether the process is racially biased

The Denver Post: As the nation reckoned with George Floyd’s death and protesters demonstrated against racism across Colorado this summer, Denver attorney Mike Root filed a motion in court that claimed the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s office made a racist decision in his client’s case.

Root claimed prosecutors offered plea agreements to two non-Black defendants, but not to his client, who is Black and Hispanic, even though all three co-defendants were accused of taking similar action during an attempted robbery that turned into a homicide. The district attorney’s office called Root’s allegation of racism “utterly unsubstantiated” and “entirely without merit” in a reply filed in court, and a judge has yet to rule on the motion.

But the accusation that the criminal justice system is inherently racist has been leveled repeatedly by activists and protesters since Floyd’s death — at times this summer it was literally shouted from Denver’s streets — and a major part of that system is plea agreements.

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