QuikFacts (short law-related notes) now appear on the Publications page.

Nathan Dunlap death sentence reprieve executive order

New (February 2013), and critical, evaluation of Coloraodo DOC's Sex Offencer Treatment Program (SOTP).

Video clip of Phil Cherner's comments on Holmes case for KDVR-TV, July 24, 2012.

Phil Cherner is mentioned in this July 21, 2012 Denver Post article.

Phil Cherner is mentioned in this June 16, 2012 Denver Post article.

Phil Cherner is mentioned in this May 9, 2012 Denver Post article.

DOC has released a new report on solitary confinement. DOC uses "ad seg" at nearly 7 times the national average, but to its credit has cut the population by nearly 300 over the last few months.

There's a new report from the SOMB evaluating the effictiveness of standards-based sex offender treatment. The report concludes the data does not support the conclusion that the treatment reduces recidivism. "The policies prescribed by the Adult Standards and Guidelines for the management and treatment of adult sex offenders appear to limit sexual recidivism post–release from supervision for adult sex offenders who successfully completed either probation or parole. Notwithstanding the literature, the data alone does not provide sufficient independent evidence to support this claim and is therefore less conclusive." See the report at: http://dcj.state.co.us/odvsom/sex_offender/SO_Pdfs/2011%20Adult%20Standards%20and%20Guidelines%20Outcome%20Evaluation.pdf

Phil Cherner published an article in the February 2010 The Colorado Lawyer, which described in detail why felons sentenced in Colorado serve, on average, 70% of their sentence.

A copy of the article is available here.

In November Phil Cherner completed hosting "CSI Colorado in 2011" for CLE, Inc. Over 100 lawyers attended.

Over the years, Phil has spoken on numerous aspects of criminal defense, the law, and society. He has spoken before many of the area's leading legal groups.

The Colorado Bar Association, Denver Bar Association, and Colorado Women's Bar Association are among the groups that Phil Cherner has spoken before. Additional groups include the Criminal Defense Bar, Colorado State Public Defenders, and National Lawyer's Guild, among others.

In addition to being a highly-respected attorney in Denver, Phil Cherner is an avid photographer.

Photos by Phil Cherner have appeared in a variety of publications.

Some of Phil's photos were recently displayed at the Festimatge 2012 exhibition in Calella, Spain, in April.

Petra, Jordan

The ancient city of Petra, Jordan.

Visit the photography section of the site to see many examples of Phil's photography.

QuikFacts

QuikFacts


January, 2014 External Evaluation of the Colorado Sex Offender Management Board (SOMB) Standards and Guidelines.

"...the SOMB can maintain, and arguably even increase, public safety at significantly less cost by refining its Standards and Guidelines to better reflect recent research and more closely conform to the Risk-­‐Need-­‐Responsivity principles."

January, 2014-- Dealing with Character Prolems in the Bar Admissions Process? Click here.

An overview of the Colorado bar admissions procedures, focusing on ccommon integrity issues.

January 6, 2012--SOISP Success Rates

How successful are sex offenders on probation? Data provided by the Colorado State Judicial Department shows that about 15% of probationers are revoked within the first year and 25-30% are revoked within the first two years the individual is on probation (the data varies by the year probation began). Click here for the data for probationers starting in 2003 to 2009. I will post comparble data for non-sex offender probationers shortly.

December 31, 2011-- New DOC Administrative Segregation Report

DOC has released a new report on solitary confinement. DOC uses "ad seg" at nearly 7 times the national average, but to its credit has cut the population by nearly 300 over the last few months. CCJRC's latest newsletter has a detailed discussion of the issue.

December 25, 2011-- New SOMB Evaluation Report

Pursuant to legislation, the division of criminal justice has just released a report entitled "2001 adult standards and guidelines outcome evaluation". The full report is available at the SOMB website.

The report's crucial, at page 3, is that “The policies prescribed by the Adult Standards and Guidelines for the management and treatment of adult sex offenders appear to limit sexual recidivism post–release from supervision for adult sex offenders who successfully completed either probation or parole. Notwithstanding the literature, the data alone does not provide sufficient independent evidence to support this claim and is therefore less conclusive." (Emphasis added). In other words, this study does not validate the assumptions underlying the SOMB treatment standards, principally because no control group was part of the study.

December 25, 2011-- The 2011 SOMB Annual Report has Disappointing Parole Statistics

Here’s some data from the latest lifetime sex offender sentencing report compiled jointly by the Department of Corrections, the Judicial Department and the Department of Public Safety. The report was released on November 1. Since enactment of the lifetime statute in 1998, 1772 offenders have been sentenced to prison (p.3). As of June 30, 2011, 1648 were under DOC supervision. Of this number, 71 are presently on parole (p.4). During the fiscal year 20 or 21 defendants were granted parole (the report is not clear). Since inception of the act 85 inmates have been paroled (p. 6). In fiscal year 2011, ending on June 30, the parole board schedule 844 release hearings. 18 inmates were paroled (p. 5). You can find the full report here.

 

December 23, 2011-- Sex Offender Sentence Length Averages About 210% of the Minimum

Colorado's lifetime sex offender sentencing scheme (C.R.S. §18-1.3-1001 et. seq.) requires a life sentence for defendants sent to the Department of Corrections. The judge has to set a minimum, after which the parole board can release the inmate, but the parole board can keep the inmate forever. Since the lifetime act was passed in the fall of 1998 at least 86 offenders have been released (most via parole). One might ask how many of them serve just the minimum imposed by the court and how many were held over by the parole board. It would be good to know whether they were held over a few months, or double the minimum, or some other multiple.

I queried DOC. For the 86 inmates released through the end of fiscal year 2011, the average inmate served 210% of the minimum set by the court. The maximum length of incarceration was 451%. Somehow at least one inmate served only 69%, and 12% of the inmates did not reach the minimum sentence prior to release (most likely they were released by court order, a reconsidered sentence, or some other extraordinary mechanism).

It is possibly use this data as a rough predictor of future sentences. For example, a defendant sentenced to 4-life might expect to serve eight years prior to parole. However, word of caution: parole boards frequently turn over and are subject to the political winds. Inmates sentenced today will be judged by a parole board that is, in all likelihood, not yet appointed.

More info is available on the publications page.