Legal Ethics

Defense Lawyer Subpoenas Docs Detailing Prosecutor’s Cash Bonuses for Convictions

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A Colorado defense lawyer has filed a motion claiming a prosecutor’s policy of paying bonuses for convictions should result in her office’s ouster in his client’s case.

Public defender Stephen McCrohan won more time to subpoena documents about the bonuses in a hearing on Monday, the Denver Post reports. The motion is the first of many expected to challenge the bonus program created last year by District Attorney Carol Chambers of Arapahoe County.

In a written statement opposing the motion, Chambers said none of her prosecutors expect to get bonuses this year or next because of budget problems, the story says.

Chambers paid bonuses last year to felony prosecutors who won convictions in at least 70 percent of their cases. They were required to have tried at least five cases, and plea bargains and mistrials didn’t count. Prosecutors assigned to complex trials were exempted. The average bonus paid was $1,100.

Chambers said prosecutors were not aware before December that conviction rates would affect the year-end bonuses.

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