Progressive DA Candidate: Amy Padden, Judicial District 18, Colorado

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3 mins read

If you’ve voted before, you won’t be surprised to see a number of slates empty or with only one candidate running for sheriff, public attorney, or judicial roles, which has helped fuel our mass incarceration problem. Fortunately, strong progressive candidates are running to serve in these roles this fall. The Progressive Candidate Series focuses on progressive district attorneys, judges, and sheriffs. This November, the majority of states will hold elections for candidates to fill these offices. For an interactive list of law enforcement and judges up for election this year, see the following:


We must make sure that all offenders, victims, and witnesses are treated fairly regardless of their race, national origin, religion, income, and gender. We must address the biases in our justice system.”

Amy Padden

With her vast experience in law and public service, Amy Padden is uniquely qualified to reform the justice system in Colorado’s 18th Judicial District. Not only has she served with distinction in the office of the Colorado Attorney General, going after charities and businesses who defrauded people, Padden also advocates for criminal justice reform. She is running against Republican John Kellner this November. 

As DA, Padden promises to protect vulnerable communities and bring hate crime charges against those who harm others based on some perception of who they are. She promotes fairness to all, no matter their status, race, abilities, or identity. And she says that she will end “traditional” police and prosecutor tactics like stop and frisk, profiling, and mandatory minimums. 

She will initiate internal studies of bias and formulate a better examination of charging decisions, plea deals, and sentence recommendations. Through policy changes, Padden will help justice officials use data to explore and address issues like implicit bias and problematic laws like some of Colorado’s “citizen’s arrest” statutes. She will mandate a deep data dive into areas where discretion exists, examining the extent to which the law applies equally in charging decisions, plea deals, and sentence recommendations. 

If elected, one change Padden expects to bring is ending the school-to-prison pipeline. As DA, she will ensure children who offend are treated as children, not adults. She believes in second chances and restorative justice, and opposed the death penalty before the state outlawed it.

For more on the incredible power DAs can have in reforming our justice system, see “Prosecutors in the United States” from Wesley Bell.

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