Two former Colorado district attorneys, a Republican and Democrat, are the new criminal justice fellows for the Common Sense Institute, the Denver-based think tank said Thursday afternoon.
George Brauchler is the former district attorney in the 18th Judicial District, which takes in much of the southwest metro Denver area. He was the Republican nominee for attorney general last year.
Democrat Mitch Morrissey is the former chief prosecutor in Denver, where he served three terms.
“The issues surrounding crime and criminal justice are complex, yet the recent trends are clear. From property destruction to car theft to murder rates, Colorado is facing rising rates of crime,” the institute's president and CEO, Kristin Strohm, said in a statement. “Our fellows, George Brauchler and Mitch Morrissey, will explore data driven solutions that address the growing individual, societal and economic cost of this concerning trend.”
In 2013, Brauchler was the chief prosecutor in the state's most populous district that includes Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln counties.
He prosecuted the Aurora theater shooting case in 2013 and tried, unsuccessfully, to get a death sentence for the shooter, James Holmes, in 2015. He is a former deputy district attorney, special assistant U.S. attorney, military prosecutor and criminal defense lawyer.
Morrissey is an internationally recognized expert in DNA technology applied to criminal prosecutions.
He led the Denver Cold Case Project that reviewed more than 4,200 unsolved sexual assaults and murders using DNA technologies. He and the Denver Police Crime Lab introduced DNA use in burglary and other property crime cases.
Since serving as district attorney, Morrissey co-founded United Data Connect, a forensic DNA software company, which has been used in murder cases in New York, Arizona and Utah, as well as being in use in Colorado, Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Louisiana, and Australia.
He has has trained law enforcement officers and prosecutors across the U.S., the Middle East, Central America and Canada, the institute said.
Strohm said the bipartisan pair would publish a study this fall.
“Both George and Mitch bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to these issues, and we’re looking forward to their findings,” she said.