Defense structure, 2017

  • Organization


  • Oversight

    Full oversight

Colorado provides counsel to indigent youth through the Office of the Colorado State Public Defender.  Visit the National Juvenile Defender Center's Colorado state profile for more details.

Waiver of counsel, 2014

  • Restrictions on waivers
  • No restrictions
  • Reflects laws as of the end of 2013 legislative sessions.
  • Age

    Under 0

  • Crime

    No restrictions

  • Hearing

    No restrictions

  • Placement

    No restrictions

Timing of counsel, 2013

Juvenile justice reform in Colorado addresses the early appointment of counsel in delinquency proceedings in statute.  The new laws require pre-filing appointment of counsel in both custody (detention) and non-custody cases.

By statute, when representing an indigent juvenile, the state public defender or contract attorney must defend the juvenile at every stage of the proceedings following arrest, and counsel must be assigned by the time of a detention hearing.  When a law enforcement officer does not take a youth into temporary custody but is referring a youth on a delinquency matter, clear guidance exists for serving notice on the right to counsel and the steps for retaining counsel if the legal custody or family of the youth lack resources or refuse to retain counsel. The measures include explicitly defining what is meant by "early appointment of counsel" and steps for avoiding delay in appointment prior to the youth's first court appearance.  

Colorado statutes further specify requirements for the availability of counsel at each subsequent step in the process and require meaningful annual performance reporting requirements for the State Public Defender.

  • Reflects laws as of the end of 2013 legislative sessions.

Indigency requirements, 2013

Indigency determination: Public defender

Colorado indigency law is governed by juvenile statutes, juvenile court rules, and adult statutes which provide for a determination of indigency. The Public Defender makes the determination of indigency. Court can / must appoint attorney for juvenile if non-indigent parent refuses to pay for juvenile's attorney. Specialized juvenile training available or required.

About this project

Juvenile Justice GPS (Geography, Policy, Practice, Statistics) is a project to develop a repository providing state policy makers and system stakeholders with a clear understanding of the juvenile justice landscape in the states.

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