Democratic Rep. Pete Lee is perhaps best known for his embrace of restorative justice, which encourages offenders to meet with victims and take responsibility for their actions. In 2011, when Lee tried to push a restorative justice program through the legislature, the Colorado Organization for Victims Assistance expressed concern that victims be empowered, not re-victimized by the process. According to Westword:
“Most of all, [COVA] wanted clear language that victims were in charge of any restorative-justice effort and could decline to participate at any point.
“You can’t say to a victim, ‘You have to talk to your offender,’ [Nancy] Lewis [executive director of COVA] says. “That’s just ludicrous.”
Lee was stunned. It had always been his intent that the program would be voluntary and initiated by victims, he says; the idea of dragging people into a healing process against their will made no sense at all.”
Flash forward to 2013, take Lee’s “stunned” reaction, and toss it out the window. He’s recently introduced a new piece of restorative justice legislation that could compel victims to participate whether they like it or not. HB13-1254‘s bill summary reads:
“Under current law, restorative justice victim-offender conferences must be initiated by the victim. The bill modifies the requirement of victim initiation in some instances to permit district attorney or offender initiation.”
Just add this bill to the growing list of ways that Democrats are advancing the rights of criminals at the expense of law-abiding citizens, and worse in this case, victims of crimes.