Creating a better criminal justice system thoughtfully and responsibly
Improving the system
With over 110 years of legal experience and access to experts from every aspect of the criminal justice system, the Colorado District Attorneys’ Council promotes safe and healthy communities for all in our state by collaborating with legislators and stakeholders in developing public policy.
The CDAC Public Policy Team features some of Colorado’s premier experts in criminal justice issues and related legislation.
Our role at the Capitol is to advocate for the shared interests of the state’s district attorneys and the communities they serve.
CDAC’s apolitical advocacy for community safety and health has produced numerous legislative achievements.
CDAC Policy Team
For over 15 years, Tom Raynes has been working to promote safe and healthy communities for everyone across our state – first as a district attorney, then as Colorado Deputy Attorney General and now as Executive Director of CDAC. Building a reputation as a trusted and honest voice at the Capitol, Raynes’ leadership is universally respected by stakeholders, advocates and legislators on both sides of the aisle.
Deputy Executive Director
Since joining CDAC as Deputy Executive Director in 2013, Arnold Hanuman has managed critical negotiations across diverse stakeholder groups to promote safer and healthy communities across the state. A leading expert in criminal justice legislation, Arnold provides statewide trainings, serves on statewide task forces, improves public policy and has earned deep respect on both sides of the aisle.
& POLICY ANALYST
Timothy Lane has been a part of the CDAC Policy Team since May 2016 after serving over 14 years as a Deputy District Attorney in Colorado’s 1st Judicial District (Gilpin, Jefferson). Recognized for his objective legal analysis and knowledge of constitutional law, he provides policy consultation and statewide training on legislative updates, mental health competency, at-risk populations and bond reform.
Jessica Dotter joined the CDAC team in March of 2021 as Sexual Assault Resource Prosecutor after serving over eight years in the DA offices for the 20th (Boulder) and 4th (El Paso, Teller) judicial districts – six of which were spent prosecuting special victims cases. Jessica utilizes her experience and expertise to analyze legislation and advocate for effective sexual assault policy in Colorado.
“CDAC has one of the most respected voices at the Capitol. You can always count on them to be honest, knowledgeable and committed to the safety and health of people in Colorado.”
Sen. Rhonda Fields
“From my very first session in 2015, I’ve worked with the CDAC Capitol staff on criminal justice issues that protect our communities from harm. Their information and assistance is invaluable.”
Sen. John Cooke
“The CDAC Capitol team are the reliable source of information on criminal justice matters. I go to them for the straight story on legislative proposals and my own bills as well.”
Sen. Bob Gardner
Our Work at the Capitol
Regardless of whether we support, oppose or remain neutral on a particular piece of legislation, we are dedicated to assisting and collaborating with all legislators to ensure that any bill introduced:
- Doesn’t conflict with existing statutes and case law
- Avoids unintended consequences
- Protects the rights of both defendants and victims
- Meets Constitutional requirements
- Can be practically implemented by the courts
Enhancing Police Accountability
Following the in-custody murder of George Floyd and subsequent protests across the country, CDAC collaborated with bill sponsors, lawmakers from both parties, civil rights advocates and law enforcement to achieve meaningful police reform in a thoughtful and responsible manner.
Banning Gay & Trans Panic Defenses
Making Colorado the 11th state to prohibit these bigoted excuses for murder and violence, CDAC worked alongside LGBTQ+ advocates to craft the most progressive statute in the country by asserting that a victim or witness’ sexual orientation or gender is irrelevant in a courtroom unless a judge rules otherwise.
Sex Offender Treatment Requirement
From 2002-2019, at least 82 of Colorado highest-level sex offenders were transferred to halfway houses early without meeting treatment and/or risk assessment standards. CDAC successfully closed that loophole by requiring indeterminate sex offenders to successfully progress in treatment and be evaluated as having reduced their risk to re-offend before being transferred to community corrections.
Mental Health Diversion Expansion
In 2018, the Colorado General Assembly created a new program to launch adult diversion pilot programs in four districts. The project was expanded with legislation to extend the funding opportunity beyond the original four districts, opening up grant funding for new programs across the state.
Witness Interference Hearsay Exception
In response to a Colorado Supreme Court decision, CDAC successfully pushed for a new exception to hearsay by making previously recorded testimony admissible when a victim or witness is made unavailable by the defendant.