Colorado Senate Invoice 124 would cut back the sentence for felony homicide from life in jail to 16 to 48 years.
Curtis Brooks was 15 when he and three different youngsters tried stealing a automobile in Aurora.
The automobile’s proprietor was killed through the crime and, despite the fact that one of many different teenagers confessed to pulling the set off, a jury convicted Brooks of felony homicide and sentenced him to the necessary life in jail with out the potential for parole.
Twenty three years later, then-Gov. John Hickenlooper granted Brooks clemency. He walked out of jail in 2019 and now lives in Maryland, the place he works as a COVID-19 contact tracer.
Brooks testified Thursday in help of Colorado Senate Invoice 124, which would cut back the penalty for felony homicide from life in jail with out the potential for parole to anyplace from 16 years to 48 years in jail.
“The best way felony homicide appears to be used is only a blanket, you simply throw that blanket over everybody, you do not take the time to provide every particular person their due,” Brooks mentioned.
Below Colorado legislation, a defendant could be charged with first-degree homicide if an individual is killed, even unintentionally, within the fee of sure felonies, like housebreaking or theft. It does not matter if the defendant was the precise killer; in the event that they had been concerned within the felony, they are often additionally charged with homicide.
State Sen. Pete Lee (D-Colorado Springs), the chair of the Judiciary Committee, sponsored Senate Invoice 124. He referred to as the present felony homicide legislation a throwback to medieval occasions.
“The overwhelming majority of people who I’ve talked to really feel that that’s flawed,” Lee mentioned. “It’s unjust, unfair and incompatible with the rules of felony justice that we aspire to and attempt to adhere to in Colorado.”
However State Sen. Rob Gardner (R-El Paso County), who additionally sits on the Judiciary Committee, believes Colorado’s felony homicide legislation has an necessary deterrent impact and that any modifications to it must be fastidiously thought of.
“Felony homicide as an idea…ensures that individuals are not going to be cavalier about who they hang around with and what these individuals are doing,” Gardner mentioned.
The Colorado Legal Protection Bar estimates there at the moment are as many as 150 folks in Colorado prisons for felony homicide. The invoice earlier than the legislature would solely apply to instances going ahead, so, even when the invoice is signed into legislation, these 150 inmates should preserve serving their life sentences.
Late Thursday afternoon, the Judiciary Committee permitted the invoice by a 4-1 vote. The total Senate is predicted to vote on the invoice someday within the subsequent few weeks.
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