Post Premium: Our best stories for the week of July 13-19

Like many stories, our big story of the week began with reporters just wondering about something.

David Migoya and Elise Schmelzer had both, in the wake of the protests over George Floyd’s death, wondered about the diversity in the judicial system. While David was curious about the racial makeup of the judges, Elise was asking about prosecutors.

What they learned is that in most of the state, the system does not reflect the make up of the residents of Colorado. Sometimes, it’s not even close.

I know many people will read this and say the skin color a judge or prosecutor should not matter. But person after person close to the system told us otherwise.

“It boils down to a public perception that the law is fair and impartial, and that justice is truly equal to all,”  Colorado Supreme Court Justice Monica Márquez said.

“It gives credence and credibility to the system when it’s diverse, so the community can recognize it is well-represented,” said Dennis Maes, a former 10th District judge, who retired in 2012 after 24 years on the bench.

Data for this story was gathered for more than 300 judges across Colorado, as well as the 22 district attorney offices and the state public defender. But while the numbers are clear, the reasons are less so.

Part of the problem is just the numbers — there aren’t enough young Black and Latino people entering the legal profession. But the reporters reveal how the state’s 54-year-old selection process for district court judges — all of them chosen by the governor — is so secretive that it’s impossible to know whether any bias is occurring since no one is allowed to know who’s applying in the first place.

— Lee Ann Colacioppo, Editor of The Denver Post

Denver Post review finds ranks of Colorado judges, prosecutors overwhelmingly white

Young Life says it’s for “every kid, everywhere.” Ex-participants in LGBTQ community say that’s never been true.

Interviews with a dozen former Young Life volunteers and staff, along with hundreds more social media stories, reveal an organization that bars members of the LGBTQ community from becoming leaders or working at camps, even after they’ve spent years volunteering. Those involved with Young Life described a bait-and-switch that invites all to embrace their faith in a welcoming environment, only for some to realize that different rules applied to them. Read more from Sam Tabachnik.

Masks will help, but more distancing needed to head off a September spike in Colorado, model shows

If more Coloradans wear masks, it will help reduce the spread of COVID-19, but not by enough to avoid a spike if people don’t stop gathering in crowds, according to projections released this week. Read more from Meg Wingerter.

RELATED: Colorado Gov. Jared Polis issues statewide mask order as COVID-19 cases rise
RELATED: Colorado’s weekly COVID-19 count hits highest level since May as upward trend continues
RELATED: Colorado’s COVID-19 outbreaks increase for first time since early June
Colorado coronavirus tracker: How many new cases are being reported, and where are they?

How well is Rocky Mountain National Park’s reservation system working? Here’s what we found out.

The reservations system is designed to spread out and restrict visitation to 60% of the park’s capacity between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m., equating to 4,800 vehicles (13,500 visitors), with reservations not required outside of those hours. Some park lovers have complained that the procedure is confusing, and people are upset on both sides of the issue. Read more from John Meyer.

A year after U.S. 36 highway collapse, Colorado still seeks compensation

The state of Colorado is still fighting a year later to hold road builders accountable for the unusual highway collapse on U.S. 36 that shut down toll lanes, snarled northwest metro traffic for months and required breakneck repair work. Read more from Jon Murray here.

“We are in a state of emergency”: Killing of fourth Denver teenager in one week prompts calls for change

Four teenagers have been shot and killed in Denver over the past seven days: 19-year-old Tayvion Washington, 14-year-old Xzavier Collier, 15-year-old Moses Chaney Harris and 17-year-old Davarie Armstrong.

That makes at least 10 Denver teens that have been killed in homicides so far this year — more youth killings than all of 2019. Read more here about how the community is seeking change amid rising violence in the city.

RELATED: Denver gives $125,000 worth of grants to local groups combating youth violence

+ The graffiti on Colorado’s Capitol will likely be there for a while

+ Hickenlooper’s ethics defense costs taxpayers more than $133,000

+ For all its faults, the Paycheck Protection Program provided a lifeline in Colorado

+ Colorado becomes 11th state to ban LGBTQ “panic defense”

+ Colorado ghost town to be preserved as environmental and scientific treasure

+ Denver Public Schools to start school year online, transition to classrooms in September at the earliest

+ More Colorado families consider online education as COVID-19 risks loom over upcoming school year

+ Inside Denver Public Schools’ reopening plan: Masks required, F grades discouraged, no singing in music class

+ Pandemic not giving Denver home buyers much of a break

See more great photos like this on The Denver Post’s Instagram account.

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