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Home Courts By County El Paso County Domestic Violence
Home Courts By County El Paso County Domestic Violence
Domestic Violence
(DV) Court
History and Background

The Fourth Judicial District Domestic Violence (DV) Court began in August of 2012. The court was created to increase accountability, support and monitoring of felony and misdemeanor domestic violence offenders who have been unsuccessful during traditional supervised probation programs, or are repeat offenders with multiple domestic violence cases. Utilizing many components of the Problem Solving Court model, DV Court is an alternative to incarceration. The DV Court focuses on creating opportunities for personal insight, behavioral change and non-violent living while encouraging victim input and participation in the court process and increasing victim safety. Through a system of individualized incentives and consequences, offenders are supported as they progress toward their goals while being held accountable for their conduct along the way.

The DV Court currently receives no funding. The DV Court Team consists of the judge, program Coordinator, a probation officer, a DV treatment provider, a substance abuse treatment provider, a prosecutor, a public defender, a confidential victim advocate, a CASA representative and a law enforcement officer. Other members attend on a case by case basis (e.g. Department of Human Service caseworker, private defense attorney, civil attorney, mental health professional, etc.) All participants have committed to participating on the team without additional compensation.


Overview of current presiding Judge

Judge Douglas Miles

The DV Court was developed under the leadership of the presiding judge, Douglas J. Miles, who has over 25 years of experience in the domestic violence field. As a former domestic violence prosecutor, Judge Miles was instrumental in training and program development at the local, state and national levels. He was one of the founding members of the Domestic Violence Enhanced Response Team (DVERT) in Colorado Springs, CO. This collaborative, multi-agency response to high lethal domestic violence offenses became a national model. Judge Miles also organized the Domestic Violence Fast Track Court, a procedure designed to bring DV offenders before a judge within 24 hours of arrest. He also created the Victim Video Link system which allowed DV victims to view court proceedings from the safety of a secured location via closed circuit television. As the Attorney Advisor for the Western Region at Aequitas: The Prosecutors’ Resource on Violence Against Women, Judge Miles provided training and technical assistance to prosecutors across the country. He has lectured and written on the topic of domestic violence for many years and he now presents on DV issues from a judicial perspective.


Mission and End Goal of the Domestic Violence (DV) Court

The mission of the DV Court is to effect long term behavioral and attitudinal change in DV perpetrators which will result in a cessation of intimate partner violence and an improvement in the quality of their intimate relationships.

The goal of the DV Court is to provide support, incentives and consequences for domestic violence offenders which increase the offender’s opportunities to successfully complete state-mandated treatment and other conditions of probation while protecting the safety and confidentiality of victims, and reducing negative collateral consequences to victims. As offenders demonstrate compliance with terms of DV Court probation they progress through a series of phases which decrease in intensity as they move toward graduation. Initially, court monitoring is frequent (weekly), but as offenders show success their court appearances are reduced.


Benefits to the Public

Successful completion of the DV Court program benefits not only the offender, but improves the quality of life for the victim and any children in the home of the offender, (many couples remain in an intimate relationship or continue contact regarding the children.) Successful completion of the DV Court program has the potential to break the multi-generational cycle of domestic violence.


Program eligibility Considerations

Target population:

DV Court participants will include offenders convicted of felony or misdemeanor domestic violence crimes, who are currently sentenced to supervised probation. DV Court will also include repeat domestic violence offenders whose cases include a negotiated disposition to include DV Court, and defendants with an individual DV case requiring greater intensity of supervision and accountability.


Eligibility considerations include the following:

  • Criminal History/Charges/Convictions indicate substantial history Domestic Violence (DV) and power/control dynamics

  • New charge(s) must be DV related; may include other probation revocation case(s).Probation revocation case(s) only (no new charges involved) must be DV related.

  • Defendant’s Criminogenic risk and DV risk/lethality is assessed as high risk/high need

  • Defendant is probation eligible: Has not and/or would not likely be successful on standard probation

  • Defendant’s willingness to voluntarily participate in the DV Court Program and treatment requirements, and is amenable to change

  • Victim informed per Colorado’s Victim Rights Amendment


Exclusion considerations include the following:

  • Criminal History/Charges/Convictions, Probable Cause Affidavit’s and/or other factual information do not indicate substantial history of DV and power/control dynamics: Rather indicate history such as: general violence, primarily a mental health/substance abuse driven incident(s) and problem, isolated incident and/or low level offenses, there is a question of who holds the power and control in the relationship

  • Treatment needs beyond the scope of the program (ex: severe mental health needs), or other needs cannot be reasonably accommodated

  • Homicide

  • Sex offense(s) conviction that requires registration


Risk/Need Screening, Assessment, and Evaluation Tools:

  • Inventory of Risks, Needs, and Strengths Assessments (IORNS)

  • Domestic Violence Risk Needs Assessment (DVRNA)

  • HB 1873 Assessments (LSI, ASUS, SSI)

  • Domestic Violence Screening Instrument (DVSI)

  • Screen/Interview process

Program Phase Requirements

During ALL DV Court Program Phases, DV Court participants are expected to:

  • Maintain full compliance with all Standard Terms and Conditions of Probation; and

  • Abide by all court ordered Protection, Restraining, or No Contact orders.


Phase I: Stability

  • Length: 1 – 2 Months (approximate duration)
  • Court Appearance(s): Weekly
  • Additional Phase Expectations:
    • Sign the DV Court Contract and all associated documents
    • Complete a DV Evaluation and enroll in DV treatment
    • Keep all scheduled appointments with assigned Probation Officer
    • Keep all scheduled appointments with Treatment Provider; and
    • Enroll in random urinalysis testing
  • After meeting Phase I requirements, participants are considered for progression to Phase II.


Phase II: Treatment (A)

  • Length: 4-6 Months (approximate duration)
  • Court Appearance(s): Every Other Week
  • Additional Phase Expectations:
    • Attend and participate in weekly DV treatment, including second contacts as recommended by the treatment provider and as provided in your treatment plan
    • Comply with any other ordered treatment, including: mental health, Intensive Out-Patient (IOP), Intensive Residential Treatment (IRT), and/or enhanced substance monitoring; and
    • Keep all scheduled appointments with assigned Probation Officer
  • After meeting Phase II requirements, participants are considered for progression to Phase III.


Phase III: Treatment (B)

  • Length: 4-6 Months (approximate duration)
  • Court Appearance: Once Every Month
  • Additional Phase Expectations:
    • Continue to participate in Domestic Violence treatment, including second contacts as recommended by your treatment provider and as provided in your treatment plan
    • Comply with any other ordered treatment including: Mental health, Intensive Out-Patient (IOP), Intensive Residential Treatment (IRT), and/or enhanced substance monitoring
    • Attend a Domestic Violence Empathy Panel as directed by the Probation Officer
    • Submit a Personal Accountability Statement to the DV Court Team
    • Successfully discharge from Domestic Violence treatment; and
    • Keep all scheduled appointments with your Probation Officer
  • After meeting Phase III requirements, participants are considered for progression to Phase IV.


Phase IV: Maintenance

  • Length: varies
  • Court Appearance: Every 60 days
  • Additional Phase Expectations:
    • Maintain sobriety
    • Be in compliance with Court Cost and Fees, or payment plan; and
    • Keep all scheduled appointments with your Probation Officer
  • Upon completion of Phase IV, you will receive special recognition from the Court for this accomplishment. You will terminate probation or will be transitioned to Unsupervised Probation for the remainder of your sentence. 


Referral Process – how participants get into the program:

Potential participants are referred for screening by probation officers, public defenders, prosecutors, private defense counsel or judges. Referring court divisions send defendants to Domestic Violence (DV) Court for observation and screening, after plea has been entered. Potential participants observe a DV Court session; requirements of the program are explained by the judge and any questions are answered. The defendant’s case will be screened by the DV Court team which will include victim in-put, review of Defendant’s criminal and probation history, and review of the Probable Cause Affidavit. Screening will determine the defendant’s risk/needs and program eligibility status. Defendant’s will also meet with the DV Court Coordinator for the screening/interview portion, at which time the requirements and expectations of the DV Court program will be discussed and a copy of the contract will be provided. 


If DV Court finds the defendant acceptable, the referring division will be notified. Sentencing will occur by the DV Court Judge and the defendant will begin the program. 


Contact(s) for questions and information

Erin Walker, DV Court Coordinator


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