Colorado Release to Pretrial Services Programs Criteria, Proposition 102 (2010)

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The Colorado Release to Pretrial Services Programs Criteria Initiative, also known as Proposition 102, was on the November 2, 2010 ballot in Colorado as an initiated state statute, where it was defeated.[1]

The measure would have allowed defendants arrested for a first-time nonviolent misdemeanor to be recommended for release or actually released to a pretrial services program's supervision instead of a cash, property or professional surety bond.[2]

The measure was submitted to the Colorado Secretary of State's office on March 26 and certified for the ballot on August 30.[3]

Election results

See also: 2010 ballot measure election results
Colorado Proposition 102 (102)
ResultVotesPercentage
Defeatedd No1,037,10361.97%
Yes 636,444 38.03%

Election results via: Colorado Secretary of State - official 2010 general election results

Text of measure

The language appeared on the ballot as:[2]

Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado Revised Statutes requiring that only defendants arrested for a first offense, non violent misdemeanor may be recommended for release or actually released to a pretrial services program's supervision in lieu of a cash, property, or professional surety bond?[4]

Background

Types of bonds

In 2010, approximately four different types of bonds were used. At the time of the election, in a "cash bond" a defendant was responsible for putting up the cash to cover the total cost of the bond. In a "personal recognizance bond" a defendant could have been released from jail after promising to appear in court. No money was required to be paid up front. In a "surety bond" a professional bail bondsman posted the bond. In order to use such a bond a defendant usually had to pay a fee to the bondsman. In a "property bond" relatives of the defendant put property up as collateral. The court retained the legal title and could sell the property if the defendant failed to appear for a court date.[5]

Support

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The measure was proposed by Matthew Duran and M. Paul Donovan of Colorado Springs, according to documents filed with the secretary of state's office. An organization called Safe Streets Colorado was also a proponent.

Supporters argued that the measure was necessary in order to prevent the release of dangerous criminals from jail without posting a secure bond.[5]

Grand Junction bail bondsman Bob Cunningham supported the proposed measure. Cunningham argued that when a bondsman bailed an inmate out of jail, they had a vested interested in ensuring that the person appeared in court. The state, he said, does not have the resources to go after fugitives like bondsmen. "Who's going to be responsible for them? What consequences are they going to have to pay when they don't show up for court or they go out there and commit another crime?" said Cunningham.[6]

Donors

The Safe Streets Colorado Coalition, the main supporters of Prop 102, first formed as a committee on August 26, 2010. As of October 6, 2010 there was an open complaint filed against Safe Streets Colorado for failing to register and reporting expenditures in a timely manner[7]. No large donor reports were on file.[7]

Tactics and strategies

  • On September 27, 2010 supporters gathered outside of the administration building of the Larimer County Sheriff's Office to protest Sheriff Jim Alderden's opposition to the proposed measure. Approximately 40 people attended the event.[8]
  • On September 30, 2010 supporters gathered in front of Mesa County's Justice Center. However, in addition to rallying in support of the proposed measures, some people at the rally said they were working to file a complaint against some Mesa County law officials. According to the group, Mesa County District Attorney and sheriff did not follow Colorado law because they had been speaking out against Prop. 102. However, according to officials the D.A. and sheriff were allowed to speak in favor or against the measure. According to state law, should either one had raised more than $200 for or against the measure, then they would have been required to file documents with the state.[9]

Opposition

Some opponents described the proposed measure as "unnecessary." They argued that current programs were effective in requiring defendants to appear in court. The Legislative Council said, "The measure also unfairly burdens the poor because it will likely result in poorer defendants being jailed while awaiting trial and wealthier defendants being released, even if the defendants have been charged with the same type of crime."[5]

Larimer County officials unanimously approved a resolution in opposition to Proposition 102. Commissioner Steve Johnson described the proposed measure as a "real threat" to certain aspects of the county's criminal justice system. "Pretrial services program is one of the key strategies that are allowing us to maintain our jail within the limited and declining resources we have," said Johnson.[10]

Donors

Citizens to Protect Colorado Communities was the main opposition group to Proposition 102 registered with the Secretary of State. The committee was first formed on September 13, 2010. There were no large donor reports on file with the Colorado Secretary of State[11].

Media editorial positions

Main article: Endorsements of Colorado ballot measures, 2010

Opposition

  • ColoradoBallot.net, a local blog, was opposed to Proposition 102. The blog stated, "The state probably requires bond less often than it should because in many of those cases bond cannot be met and the incarceration cost exceeds the budget. The job of the legislature is to make these trade-offs and every initiative like this further restrains the legislature from doing so. We have a good, albiet not perfect, legislature (I think in large part due to it being pretty evenly divided). We should not pass initiatives except for cases where the legislature clearly has not stepped up to do its job."[12]
  • TimesCall.com was opposed to Proposition 102. In an editorial, the board said, "The effect of passage would be that private bail bondsmen would have more business at the expense of governments that operate jails. It costs money to put people in jail...Adding millions statewide to the cost of pretrial detention is simply not appropriate. Vote against."[13]
  • The Denver Post was opposed to Proposition 102. In an editorial, the board said, "The initiative would throw a monkey wrench into the good systems that have been developed to supervise criminal defendants who are awaiting trial by forcing them into the hands of bail bondsmen. We hope voters will shoot it down."[14]
  • The Coloradoan was opposed to the proposed measure. "The Coloradoan editorial board already has recommended against Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101, which are tax measures that will badly damage the state's economy, as well as Proposition 102, which would undermine successful pretrial service programs in Larimer and nine other counties in Colorado," said the editorial board.[15]
  • The Durango Herald was opposed. "An unwarranted giveaway to bail bondsmen that would adversely affect pre-trial monitoring of offenders, keep some in jail unnecessarily and cost taxpayers money," said the editorial board.[16]

Campaign finance violations

Supporters of Proposition 102 failed to file campaign finance reports as required by state law and had been issued fines by the state. Matthew Duran and M. Paul Donovan, supporters of the measure, reportedly paid for the petition campaign themselves. The official campaign group in support of the measure registered 24 days following the August 2 petition drive deadline. However, as of September 2010 the group had not yet filed a campaign finance report to disclose its donors.[17]

As of September 2010, opponents also had not registered an official campaign but according to reports opponents did not plan to raise funds.[17]

The first campaign finance report for the 2010 election was due September 8, 2010. According to supporters, they had trouble with the secretary of state's website but planned to file reports within a few days. The Colorado Secretary of State's office reportedly charged $50 per day since September 8.[17]

Supporters of Proposition 102, called "Safe Streets" was fined $12,200 in January 2011 for the alleged campaign finance violations. Adminstrative Law Judge Laura Broniak ruled that the campaign violated Colorado campaign finance laws by failing to file its committee registration before raising and spending money for Prop 102's ballot access.[18]

Path to the ballot

See also: Colorado signature requirements

Supporters for the measure turned in signatures to Colorado Secretary of State's office by the August 2, 2010 petition drive deadline. Supporters were required to collect at least 76,046 signatures from registered voters in the state in order to qualify the initiative for the ballot. On August 30 the secretary of state's office determined that supporters collected sufficient signatures to qualify.[3]

Signature validity count

According to the Colorado Secretary of State's office, below is the petition summary for Proposition 102:[19]

  • Total qualified signatures submitted: 127,474
  • 5% random sample of qualified signatures: 6,374
  • Total entries accepted from random sample: 4,577
  • Total entries rejected from random sample: 1,797
  • Number of projected valid signatures from random sample: 91,536
  • Required signatures to qualify for ballot: 76,047
  • Percentage of presumed valid signatures: 120.37%

See also

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Articles

External links

Additional reading

References

  1. The Durango Herald, "Colo. voters reject ballot initiatives," November 4, 2010
  2. 2.0 2.1 Colorado State Legislative Council, "Ballot History," accessed February 27, 2014
  3. 3.0 3.1 The Denver Daily News, "Bail bond measure makes ballot," September 1, 2010
  4. Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 The Gazette, "Ballot proposal would make it harder to get out of jail free," August 21, 2010
  6. NBC11News, "Proposition 102: Improving Public Safety or a Bailout for Bail Bondsman?," September 29, 2010
  7. 7.0 7.1 TRACER-Colorado, "Committee Detail-Safe Streets Colorado
  8. Coloradoan, "Bail-bond measure ignites passions," September 29, 2010
  9. KJCT8, "Prop. 102 Supporters Challenge Mesa County Law Officials," September 30, 2010
  10. Coloradoan, "Officials oppose ballot measure on bail bonds," September 16, 2010
  11. TRACER-Colorado, "Committee Detail-Citizens to Protect Colorado's Communities"
  12. ColoradoBallot.net, "102: Criteria for Setting Bail and Type of Bond," accessed September 7, 2010
  13. TimesCall.com, "Seven of nine ballot issues too costly for state," October 6, 2010 (dead link)
  14. The Denver Post, "Passing Prop. 102 would be a crime," October 12, 2010
  15. Coloradoan, "Voters, reject citizen-initiated amendments," October 27, 2010
  16. The Durango Herald, "Endorsements," October 24, 2010
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 The Durango Herald, "Campaigns on bail bond issue run afoul of finance laws," September 23, 2010
  18. The Denver Daily News, "‘Safe Streets’ campaign fined," January 6, 2011
  19. Colorado Secretary of State, "Proposed Ballot Measure Deemed Sufficient," August 30, 2010