Vail Valley criminal justice seminar a hit | VailDaily.com
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Vail Valley criminal justice seminar a hit

Vail Daily staff report
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL VALLEY, Colorado –The Avon Police Department and the Avon Town Prosecutor’s Office hosted a seminar entitled “Working Separately Together,” on July 1 in Colorado’s Vail Valley.

More than 70 participants from various parts of the criminal justice system – from judges to prosecutors to defense lawyers to police officers – converged in Avon to talk about how the system can be improved. Police Chief Brian Kozak and Prosecutor Elizabeth Pierce-Durance scheduled the seminar after recognizing that different branches of the system may not fully understand the responsibilities of others within the system.

The seminar was moderated by Chief Kozak and Forrest Lewis, a defense attorney in Denver.

“The meeting was a great idea. Most of our conferences and continuing education are geared to a single, specific group,” Lewis said. “This gathering proved that an inclusive meeting which encourages face-to-face, honest discussion of common issues among diverse and adversarial groups can be very beneficial. I gained new insight into the other components of the criminal justice system.”

Chief Kozak said that this was the first time he has ever seen groups of police officers and defense attorneys meet with judges and prosecutors to discuss their perceptions about each other.

“It was good to have police officers see that those who defend criminals have an interest in public safety, but a duty to do their job to protect their client’s rights,” Kozak said.

Judge Tom Mooread attended the seminar and said, “The opportunity for all of the interested parties to gather together to openly discuss issues of concern is unique. It reflects the commitment of all to assure that the criminal justice system in our community functions efficiently and effectively with due respect to all that find themselves involved in the system.”

The Avon Police Department plans to host annual seminars to continue the positive and cooperative momentum.


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