DENVER – The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado has partnered with the Downtown Denver Partnership, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and the City and County of Denver, the Denver Police Department, the Colorado Attorney General, and RTD to announce the deployment of resources to resolve. both health and safety related to the city center looking at root problems and long term solutions.
Comment from US Attorney Cole Finegan as delivered at the Public Safety News Conference in Denver on November 10, 2022:
Good afternoon. The United States Attorney’s Office here in Colorado is proud to be a part of this effort to address the rise in violent crime, here in downtown Denver and throughout the state. When I entered this job about a year ago, we tried to think, is there a way that our office can help? What we have come up with is a creative and innovative solution to work together to help make Denver a safer place to live, work and visit.
The US Attorney’s Office prosecutes serious criminals, who are responsible for the most violent crimes in our society. We are focusing on criminals who carry or use firearms. Just yesterday, two different judges handed down guilty verdicts to the armed robbers.
The state deviates from federal law and allows some criminals to continue to carry weapons. Federal law makes it illegal for a convicted felon to possess a firearm or ammunition. Violators can be sentenced to 10 years in prison and a fine of US$250,000.
Federal law also creates mandatory sentences of between five and ten years in prison for possessing, discharging, or discharging a firearm during the commission of a violent crime or drug offense.
We have powerful tools in federal law, and we are not afraid to use them.
Take for example the killer who forced his way into a children’s hospital in September. Initially, he was charged at the state level, but was released on bail. We were able to charge him under federal law, and he is being held in jail awaiting trial. He is charged with possession of a firearm, and possession of a firearm.
Another example from down the street: Two robbers were involved in a shooting in September 2018, at the corner of 15th and Market. An innocent person was hit and seriously injured by the sound of gunfire. Both are charged with possession of firearms and ammunition. Armando Durete was convicted after a trial and Nickie Rico pleaded guilty. Rico was sentenced to more than 8 years in prison. Durete was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
So, we have a federal law that allows us to charge, protect, and prosecute felons and other dangerous criminals with guns. But we have a problem with fully implementing the federal law. We have a dedicated team of prosecutors who work on violent crime, and we want to do more. Now, thanks to the Mayor, the City Attorney, and the financial assistance from the Denver City Council, we are in the process of recruiting four special prosecutors, who will be called “Special Assistant United States Attorneys”. These additional prosecutors will help us to ensure that we have the resources to prosecute many of these dangerous criminals as possible.
This should send a powerful message to criminals: We are bringing the government to justice for those who own guns and criminals who use guns to commit violent crimes or sell drugs. The special prosecutors of the US Attorney’s Office, funded by the City and County of Denver, will help us make sure we get these criminals off the streets and put them in prison for a long time.
Thank you for helping us spread the word.