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Data Stories

Deep dives into the Twentyfirst Judicial District Attorney's office.

Inside Your Local Pursuit of Justice

By Jordan Weimer, Managing Paralegal · 07-19-2023

The Fightin' 21st

We are the 21st Judicial District in the State of Colorado. We are a one-county Judicial District serving the great community of Mesa County. Our goals are to obtain a speedy and just resolution of criminal cases, while ensuring that victim’s constitutional rights are being enforced. We promote safety to the community through aggressive prosecution of violent and repeat offenders.

Necessary and Successful Growth

Over the last eight years, the 21st Judicial District Attorney’s Office has grown significantly in the number of full-time employee positions with the primary objectives of meeting caseload demands, securing and maintaining public safety, and serving the community and victims of crime therein.

Since 2016, nearly 30 full-time employment positions have been added to the 21st Judicial District Attorney’s Office. Notably, a Public Safety Tax was enacted by a ballot measure in 2017, imposing a .37% sales tax, effective January 1, 2018, to help fund safety functions in Mesa County.

Our office has sought to decrease the burden on Mesa County’s General Fund through the utilization of Grant Funding for employment positions within the office. In 2016, 92% of the District Attorney’s Office’s positions were funded by Mesa County’s General Fund. Over the last few years, this office has increased the use of Grant funding by over 500% and now less than 60% of the District Attorney’s Office’s positions are funded by Mesa County’s General Fund.

This graph above shows the total number of full-time employees apportioned for the 21st Judicial District Attorney’s Office. The graph also provides a closer look at various positions in the office, including Line Prosecutors, Leadership Prosecutors, IT/Data Analytics, Clerical/Paralegal/General Support, Victim Witness Services, Investigators/Officers, and Diversion staff.

  • “Line Prosecutors” consist of all line level Deputy District Attorneys, including county court, district court, and senior trial district court attorneys.
  • “Leadership Prosecutors” consist of the elected District Attorney, the Assistant District Attorney, and Chief Deputy District Attorneys.
  • “Clerical/Paralegal/General Support” consist of the Director of Support Services, a Managing Paralegal, Paralegals, a Managing Administrative Assistant, Administrative Assistants, Media Specialists, a Managing Administrative Specialist, and Administrative Specialists.
  • “Victim Witness Services” consist of the Director of Victim Services, Victim Specialists, a Domestic Violence Response Team (DVRT) Coordinator, a Restitution Clerk, a Facility Dog Handler, a Victims Compensation/VALE Administrator, and Victim/Witness Administrative Assistants.
  • “Investigators/Officers” consist of the Chief Investigator and Senior Investigators.
  • “Diversion Staff” consists of the Director of Diversion, Juvenile Diversion Coordinators, and Diversion Administrative Assistants.

Dedication to Victims

As part of the growth of the 21st Judicial District Attorney’s Office as a whole, also came remarkable growth in the Victim/Witness Services Unit. This individual unit grew from three full-time employment positions in 2016 to ten full-time employment positions currently. This has created direct and immediate benefits for victims of crime in the community, as it has created greater opportunity for Victim Specialists to make speedy contact with victims and victims connected to necessary resources.

This graph illustrates how the increase in the number of full-time employees in the Victim/Witness Services Unit has allowed for quicker contact with victims. This data set highlights a distinctive strength of this unit, the 21st Judicial District Attorney’s Office as a whole, and the support and service provided to victims in the community.

What is Happening in Mesa County?

Comparing the number of cases filed by charge type since 2017, there does not appear to be a drastic or considerable difference between case filings each year, with the exception of 2020. The COVID-19 Pandemic in 2020 caused law enforcement nationwide to approach policing in more of a reactive manner versus a proactive manner. Arrest standards were modified and many court appearances were moved to virtual appearances. These factors all contribute to a slight decrease in 2020 case filings.

Post-COVID-19, case filing numbers rose back to a comparable amount of cases that were filed prior to the pandemic.

There is a noticeable uptick in the amount of traffic cases filed beginning in 2020, which continues through 2022. This increase is largely attributed to a change in office policy regarding which traffic cases get entered and stored in the case management system. Prior to 2020, not all traffic cases were entered into the case management system. However, in 2020, with increased staff capacity, the office changed practices. Now all pending and future traffic cases are entered and stored in the case management system that generates this data.

This change helps generate a more accurate picture of the number of cases being filed by the 21st Judicial District Attorney’s Office.

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