Democrat leadership hides from bill pitting trial lawyers against victims of violence

Rep. Kevin VanWinkle - Highlands Ranch (HD 43)

Rep. Kevin VanWinkle – Highlands Ranch (HD 43)

Denver – At the stroke of midnight last night, Democrat leadership effectively dodged a vote on House Bill 1061, sponsored by Representative Kevin Van Winkle (R-Highlands Ranch). House Bill 1061 was introduced in the House on January 7th, and with only two days remaining does not have sufficient time to advance through the process.

The bill would have closed what has been called the “Ray Rice Loophole” in Colorado law, which allows a domestic violence conviction to be sealed after only three years and a small legal fee. Sealing domestic violence convictions permits defense attorneys to argue any charge, regardless of the number of priors, that takes place more than three years removed from a conviction is a first-time offense.

“Trial lawyers made their opposition to this House bill no secret, yet rather than cross this powerful lobbying force, Democrat leadership showed cowardice and hid their caucus from taking a position on this important bill,” said Van Winkle. “This bill would have ensured domestic abusers could not wait out their crimes, and would be charged according to the true number of convictions. It’s very sad Democrat leadership was too afraid to lose support from the trial lawyers to protect domestic violence victims.”