On October 8, 1993 a juvenile in Colorado was arrested for possession of a handgun and held without bail. In his defense, he filed a Motion to declare Colorado Revised Statue § 19-2-204(3)(a)(III) unconstitutional in the Juvenile Court. The plaintiff, represented by unknown counsel, asked the ...
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On October 8, 1993 a juvenile in Colorado was arrested for possession of a handgun and held without bail. In his defense, he filed a Motion to declare Colorado Revised Statue § 19-2-204(3)(a)(III) unconstitutional in the Juvenile Court. The plaintiff, represented by unknown counsel, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that his detention violated Colorado and Federal law. Specifically, the plaintiff contended that his arrest and detention was punishment for a status offense in violation of Colorado's Children's Code, and the federal Juvenile Justice Delinquency and Prevention Act (JJDPA); that his detention without bond at the Gilliam Youth Center (GYC) and Arapahoe County Jail (ACJ) was in violation due to overcrowding, unsanitary and unsafe conditions, and the joint detention of adults and juveniles at ACJ; and that the rebuttable presumption of danger allowing detention without bail, which was amended to § 19-2-204, violated the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.
On November 24, 1993, the Juvenile Court of the City and County of Denver (Judge David E. Ramirez) held in favor of the plaintiff. The Court found that the statute authorizing plaintiff's arrest created a status offense, because it was limited to juveniles, and did not apply to adults performing the same conduct. The detention of status offenders in secured facilities such as ACJ violates the JJDPA. 42 U.S.C. § 5633(a)(12)(A). Additionally the Court found that due to the unsanitary and overcrowded nature of detention, GYC and ACJ were punitive facilities, not protective ones, and the holding of pre-trial detainees without bail was in violation of state and federal due process rights. Finally, the court found that the rebuttable presumption of § 19-2-204 was unconstitutional; specifically the statute presumed danger to self or others when a juvenile was arrested for possession of a firearm, and allowed the juvenile to be held without bond unless he could overcome the presumption. The Court did not find any Equal Protection violations in the disproportionate amount of minorities detained pursuant to § 19-2-204. The Court held that the amendment that created the rebuttable presumption in § 19-2-204 was unconstitutional and must be severed from the statute; that incarceration of juveniles as status offenders violated Colorado law as well as the JJDPA, even after severance of the amendment to § 19-2-204; and that juveniles had a constitutional right to bail. The Court (Judge Ramirez) ordered the Plaintiff released on a $1,000 bond. It issued no specific orders for other juveniles similarly situated, but left open the possibility of similar actions in juvenile courts or federal courts under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The prohibition of making public the identity of the juvenile plaintiff was reaffirmed and continued.
Because PACER has no docket for this state case, we have no more information on this file.Greg Venker - 05/29/2006