Annual Conference

Public Defender Conference
This year held virtually

September 14-15, 2020

Colorado Defenders, it is our 50th Anniversary! Even with so much dismantling yet to be done, and COVID bringing into sharper focus the gross inequities of life for indigent and minoritized people, this milestone is something to recognize and celebrate.

This year, and every year since 1970, the employees of this agency, each and every one of YOU, have positively impacted the lives of your fellow human beings by meeting them at the front door, turning over every rock to find their story, and walking beside them through a system designed to oppress, humiliate, and hold them down.

The Public Defender’s 50th Annual Conference will be held virtually on September 14-15, 2020.

Workshops: Monday, Sept. 14, and Tuesday, Sept. 15: 9:00 – 11:50, 1:30 – 2:20. We will have multiple tracks or presentations available during each block of time and, as has become our new normal, these sessions are open to any employee who is interested in the subject matter irrespective of their assigned scope of work. While our goal is that the bulk of these workshops will be conducted by live presenters, the workshops will be recorded for later viewing.

Monday, Sept. 14, and Tuesday, Sept. 15: 2:20-4:50 will be the plenary sessions. Our goal is to record these and have them available for CLE credit, however some of the speakers we are hoping to recruit may not allow us to record. These plenary sessions will be held via zoom but we anticipate that all of us will watch together. Unlike the workshops, these require mandatory attendance at the time of the presentation.

Due to the limitations of zoom licenses, conference presentations are only open to public defender employees. At some time after conference, the recordings of presentations and materials will be available for purchase to private practitioners. The cost will be determined once we have the final CLE count for the conference presentations.

This year, as we continue the work within our agency and our communities to advance meaningful equity for people of color, we also want to build off the national discussion about the role police, prosecutors, and judges play in the systemic racial oppression of our clients who have come into contact with the injustice system. In this context, we have an opportunity and an obligation to intentionally push back against police, prosecutors and judges who pay lip service to the principles of equity and fairness while continuing to crank the engine of mass incarceration. To that end, the majority of the presentations at conference will center on tools to litigate issues implicating race and police misconduct. As an agency of 1000+ employees working across the state, we can use these tools and ideas in our daily lives, in our communities, and in the courtroom to reframe the narrative of race and justice, and in so doing, hopefully achieve some measure of systemic change.