The Denver-basedPendulum Foundation
has made some significant progress in challenging the laws that can send juveniles to adult prison, serving life without parole for violent crimes committed when they were fifteen- or sixteen-years old -- a wrenching issue Luke Turf explored in his 2005 feature "Headed For Trouble
." Now, a related blog has been launched to mobilize opposition to what Pendulum executive director Mary Ellen Johnson considers the root of the problem -- the "cruel and unusual practice" that allows district attorneys in Colorado and many other states to direct file against juveniles in adult court, without a hearing first.
The new site, StopDirectFile.org, bills itself as an education campaign by "a group of committed Coloradans." It has some interesting links, newsletters and feeds, as well as some heartbreaking case histories. Particularly compelling is the clip seen above of Sara Kruzan, which found its way to the site via Demi Moore's Twitter feed. Kruzan, 29, has been serving life without parole in California for the past thirteen years; at sixteen, she killed the pimp who raped her and introduced her to prostitution three years earlier.
Kruzan's judge told her that she "lacked moral scruples." She had to look up "scruples" in the dictionary. "I definitely deserve punishment," she says. "How much, I don't know."
For more, check out the clip -- and the site.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.