The Arapahoe D.A. and the Death Penalty

October 12 2007, 10:19 AM

Arapahoe District Attorney Carol Chambers, already censured in an ethics probe, is now being criticized for her death penalty decisions.

Currently, seven Colorado defendants face possible death sentences in pending cases. Six of those have been filed in a single judicial district under controversial District Attorney Carol Chambers, who was publicly censured last year by an ethics panel.

One of the cases she's gone death on involve two prison inmates who fatally stabbed a third inmate.

Another case that has drawn fire involves Chambers' decision to seek the death penalty for a man who may be mentally retarded and therefore ineligible, though a final determination on his condition hasn't been made.

The death penalty is enormously expensive. Factor in that Colorado's Public Defender's office has one of the best trained capital defense units anywhere and a very successful defense rate. Most prosecutors in Colorado wisely reserve the death penalty for the worst of the worst. They don't play politics with it. Can it be a coincidence that six of the last seven death penalty filings have been brought by Chambers? Death penalty expert David Lane says "no."

"Clearly, it's more than coincidence," says defense attorney and capital punishment opponent David Lane. "She's seeking the death penalty on some cases that no other prosecutor in the state would find to be a death-penalty case. And it's costing taxpayers."

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