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Courts Columnist

Time to consider data-driven justice system?

The Colorado Statesman

Big data is a big deal to more and more industries and professions.

Financial firms have crunched reams of numbers for decades. Barak Obama dedicated a whole floor of his campaign to data-driven decision-making. And of course, baseball — and every other major sport — has followed the sabermetric path blazed by Billy Beane.

So, where do we find big data being applied to the legal field? How does the criminal justice system use the vast array of statistical information it collects to increase efficiency and decrease costs?

Doug Bruce has day in court, with more ahead

The Colorado Statesman

This story has been corrected. Please see correction below.

Round 2 of the alleged probation violation charges against Taxpayer Bill of Rights author Doug Bruce landed in Judge Sheila Rappaport’s Denver District Court on Monday. Another round is scheduled for August 31, and yet another, complete with fresh charges, is likely to follow that.

Bruce has been under supervision for three years by the Colorado Probation Office, since he served a sentence for criminal tax evasion. Bruce wasn’t convicted of pocketing moneys for his own use. Instead, he donated his salary as an El Paso County commissioner to several tax-exempt, political non-profit organizations. Failing to pay taxes on this pass-through, prosecutors argued, cheated the state of tax revenues, while bolstering the contributions enjoyed by the recipients of his largesse. Bruce has called this an invented legal theory of “criminal philanthropy.” If a corporation had been found executing similar transfers, it almost certainly would have been handled as a civil matter, he maintained.

Hickenlooper, Burwell discuss curbing prescription drug abuse

The Colorado Statesman

Blair Hubbard's heroin addiction began with the popping of a few pain pills she was prescribed after wisdom teeth surgery.

“I accidentally took more than the recommended prescribed dose at one point and realized that I really liked the way it felt,” said Hubbard, 34, who lives in Denver.

Wayposts

Guzman elected Senate minority leader, Bartels leaves Post for secretary of state's office

Senate Dems elect Guzman as leader

The Senate Democratic caucus voted unanimously on Wednesday to elect Sen. Lucia Guzman, D-Denver, as Senate minority leader, taking the place of Sen. Morgan Carroll, D-Aurora, who is stepping down from the leadership post while she runs for Congress.

“Making sure every Coloradan who works hard and plays by the rules has a fair shot at getting ahead is what myself and my Democratic colleagues are totally focused on,” Guzman said in a statement.

Campaign 2016

Republican presidential debate set for CU Boulder

The Colorado Statesman

The third Republican presidential candidate debate will be on Oct. 28 at the Coors Events Center on the University of Colorado Boulder campus, debate sponsor CNBC announced on Thursday. The debate, one of a dozen sanctioned by the Republican National Committee, will focus on the economy and will be broadcast by the cable network.

Bicha tells audit committee DHS making progress, problems persist

The Colorado Statesman

The Colorado Department of Human Services is complying with many recommendations spelled out in audits from last year, but problems still persist at the agency that oversees child-welfare services.

That's according to department Executive Director Reggie Bicha, who on Tuesday updated a legislative panel on the progress being made toward addressing a long list of concerns found in the audits.

Bennet, Gardner introduce bill to legalize pot banking

The Colorado Statesman

Congress may finally be getting over the “chuckle factor” when it comes to marijuana banking legislation.

“When I would bring up marijuana, there would always initially be a chuckle,” Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter told The Colorado Statesman in a recent interview.

“Now, people understand that this is a serious issue.”

As Congress gets over the pot giggles, those who operate marijuana businesses hope they'll soon be laughing all the way to the bank.

This week's political cartoon

America's mall cop

The Colorado Statesman

Chatter

Jewell adds meeting on Colowyo coal mine to her Colorado visit

Those gripes about Interior Secretary Sally Jewell making time for whitewater rafting and hobnobbing in Aspen — but not the Colowyo coal mine — appear to have paid off.

Moffat County Commissioner John Kinkaid said Wednesday that Jewell has added a meeting with northwest Colorado county commissioners to her itinerary Friday following her speech at the Aspen Institute.

“We look forward to meeting Secretary Jewell this Friday evening,” Kinkaid said. “I hope that she will be able to give us some assurances that our miners can keep working.”

Guest Commentary

Webb: Why America needs a strong woman as president

Hillary Clinton is the best candidate for the job
Guest Contributor

I’ve heard some of my friends praise Hillary Clinton for her public service but then question if we are ready for such a strong female leader.

I'm married to a strong woman, Wilma Webb, who served in the Colorado state legislature for 13 years and fought to get the Martin Luther King Jr. state holiday established long before other states came on board. With the Democrats in the minority, she also got laws passed to protect the poor, minorities, women and gays from discrimination.