The DA Dispatch
Updates from Denver DA Beth McCann
Tackling Gun Violence at Its Root
Denver is experiencing an alarming spike in criminal cases involving juveniles with handguns. In conjunction with the Denver Juvenile Court, we partnered with the State Public Defender, Denver Juvenile Probation, Colorado Detention Youth Continuum and Denver Youth Violence Prevention Action Table to explore effective interventions. The result was the launch of the new Handgun Intervention Program (HIP), a rapid response to non-violent gun offenses committed by our youth.
HIP focuses on early intervention to prevent juveniles from using guns, reduce recidivism, and increase a young person’s involvement in community-based programs. The program emphasizes accountability, strong community partnerships and competency development. Participants learn to be accountable through educational sessions that show them the harm that can come from unlawful gun use. Additional program components include a victim impact panel, community service projects, and family engagement. The program requires involvement with a young person's parent or guardian and we hope to mentor these young people to help them make better choices moving forward.

If HIP can a change a young person’s desire to have and use a gun, it will prevent that person from further involvement in the criminal justice system and give them a better chance of living a life free of violence. We have hope that HIP will contribute to Denver being a safer community for all.

Read more about the HIP Program in this recent Denver Post article.
Colorado's Red Flag Law a Success
 in 2020
The Colorado Attorney General recently released a report of the first year of implementation of Colorado's extreme risk protection order or “red flag law”. The report found that law enforcement successfully used the new law to intervene in cases, which probably prevented suicide, intimate partner violence, or mass violence. We are proud that our office’s Domestic Violence Firearms Relinquishment Program contributed to the success of the new statewide law.  
Anatomy of a Case: Byron Whitehorn, Guilty

Sexual assault cases are different from other criminal cases because they are typically private crimes. There are rarely other witnesses, and the assaults are usually committed in spaces without surveillance. That was the situation when between 2017 and 2018, four people reported being sexually assaulted. Those cases went unsolved until 2019 when DNA matched 52-year-old Byron Whitehorn to all four events.

Whitehorn targeted intoxicated young women, offered them a ride home and then sexually assaulted them. 
The brave survivors of Byron Whitehorn are to be commended for finding the courage to go through a criminal trial.

We hope their stories empower other sexual assault victims to report their abuse.
In June, Byron Whitehorn’s victims faced him in court to tell their stories, and the jury found him guilty. In August, our office charged Byron Whitehorn with sexual assault in another case from May of this year. The brave survivors of Byron Whitehorn are to be commended for finding the courage to go through a criminal trial. We hope their stories empower other sexual assault victims to report their abuse.

Read more about the conviction in this Denver Post article.
New Denver Ordinance Combats Human Trafficking
Human traffickers commonly use illicit massage businesses to lure workers and foreign nationals to engage in illicit acts. There are an estimated 9,000 illicit massage businesses operating across the country with about $2.5 billion in annual revenue. 
In 2017, DA McCann prioritized the issue and formed our Human Trafficking Unit. In 2018, our office received a nearly $1 million federal grant to help combat human trafficking and assist the survivors.

Our Human Trafficking team worked with other city leaders to help pass a new city ordinance that requires massage businesses to be licensed to operate. Business owners will be subject to background checks and ongoing city inspections which we believe will curtail the problem of illicit massage businesses operating in Denver just as a similar ordinance did in Aurora. This new ordinance will enable us to know who owns these businesses and prevent those with criminal records from operating such businesses. 
Consumer Scams; Your Best Defense is Prevention
Have you ever wondered how anyone could fall for a scam? Don’t think you’ll ever fall for one? Think again. Scammers are savvy engineers of making people believe what they say is true. Fraudsters continually brush off old scams and refresh them with current issues in the news, such as receiving money from the government - all designed to steal your money, identity, and personal information.
Maro Casparian, our Director of Community Engagement, has a passion for cybercrime prevention. Schedule a free presentation that will educate and entertain as you become better armed against the pitfalls and warning signs of scams. Learn how your habits online and off increase your risk for consumer fraud and identity theft so that you can stay safe. You will come away with a new level of understanding of how scammers work including how to spot the red flags of a scam, and how to minimize your digital footprint.

To schedule your presentation contact Maro Casparian: 303-884-7838, Presentations are free to groups of 10 or more and can be customized for your organization and time restrictions. 
We Walked Like MADD
No More Victims
Every year, our office joins MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) to Walk Like MADD, and raise both awareness and funds to end drunk and drugged driving. MADD has saved more than 350,000 lives and served more than 820,000 victims.

On an August Saturday morning, our office joined the MADD Walk, raised more than $4,000, and won the “Top Law Enforcement Team” award. Most importantly we helped MADD get one step closer to the ultimate goal of no more victims.