Q&A with Amy Padden, candidate for 18th Judicial District Attorney

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Party: Democrat

Residence: Aurora

Campaign website: amypadden.com

What makes you the best choice for this office? 

I have a wealth of diversified experience (which has often been mispresented), including substantial leadership skills and hands-on experience implementing criminal justice reform. I've been an attorney for over 25 years and have been a partner at a local law firm, where I served as the Recruiting Committee Chair, and also worked at all three levels of government as a prosecutor: the U.S. Attorney's Office, the Colorado Attorney General's Office and two District Attorney's offices. I have the best vision for real reform and reducing crime rates and recidivism, thus making our communities safer.

If you're elected, what one single issue will be at the top of your agenda? 

Community safety. However, in order to truly make our communities safer, we must do a better job of preventing crime and reducing recidivism, not just punishing crime after it occurs. We can do this through a variety of measures, including finding alternatives to incarceration.  

If you're elected, what must you accomplish in order for you to consider your term a success? 

We must get both our crime rate and our incarceration rates down. This can be accomplished by reducing recidivism and the programs and priorities I have discussed in the other questions.

If elected, how would you help the 18th Judicial District navigate pressures placed on the district by COVID-19?

Reducing our jail populations is key to helping us move past the COVID epidemic. We should not be holding individuals pretrial for minor offenses. I will work closely with the district on re-opening, including working through the backlog of cases and trials. I currently work in another DA's office where the courts have already reopened and there have already been jury trials, and we are regularly in court, while social distancing and avoiding outbreaks.

What changes would you implement once in office, if elected?

I will implement meaningful alternatives to incarceration, including a robust Adult Diversion program that is far more inclusive than the small program currently in the office. I will also stand up a Community Engagement Office, building on my community relationships to establish a strong connection between the DA's office and community stakeholders and re-establishing trust with marginalized communities. And, I will establish a Conviction Integrity Unit with teeth, unlike the current unit which consists of unpaid volunteers, whose review is limited to claims of actual innocence. Not surprisingly, it has found no instances of a wrongful conviction. 

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