February 7, 2023

Contact: Cinamon Watson

CSI Announces the Owens-Early Criminal Justice Fellowship

Former DAs Mitch Morrissey and George Brauchler named as 2023 fellows

Denver, CO – Today, Common Sense Institute (CSI) announced the Owens-Early Criminal Justice Fellowship. Named in honor of former Governor Bill Owens and former District Attorney Norm Early, the fellowship will focus on understanding the full economic and fiscal ramifications of policy choices in the areas of public safety and criminal justice.

“We are proud to announce this new fellowship and could not think of two better namesakes,” said Kristin Strohm, CSI President & CEO. “During their time in office, both Governor Owens and District Attorney Early stood strong for victims’ rights and ensured Coloradans could thrive in safe communities. They have a deep understanding of public safety and criminal justice issues and we’re honored to have them lend their names.”

According to Strohm, each year two fellows, one Democrat and one Republican, will be named to fulfill the demands of the research projects.

Former DA Early, Denver’s first black district attorney, is widely credited as a pioneer for victims’ rights and a champion of safe streets for all people to thrive.

“I am honored to have my father’s name on a fellowship that will continue his pursuit of criminal justice and victims’ rights,” said Kendall Early, son of the former DA. “My father valued diversity (in all forms), including diversity of thought and empowering and supporting those most marginalized. We are proud to have the Early name attached to this prestigious academic endeavor, which is a collaboration dedicated to improving the lives of Colorado’s citizens.”

“CSI has quickly become the most authoritative voice on crime research. Their ability to synthesize the statistics and quantify the cost of crime has defined the debate in Colorado and around the country,” said Governor Bill Owens. “This is one of the most important issues of our time. If our communities are not safe, families cannot work or play, kids cannot learn, and businesses cannot thrive.”

CSI also announced the 2023 fellows will be former DAs Mitch Morrissey and George Brauchler.

George Brauchler served as the elected District Attorney for the 18th Judicial District (JD), Colorado’s most populous district, which includes Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert, and Lincoln counties, from 2013-2021. As a state prosecutor, he handled the felony cases from the Columbine High School mass shooting case, the Aurora Theater (Batman) mass shooting case, and recently, the STEM Academy school mass shooting case.

Over his career, George has served as a Deputy District Attorney, Special Assistant U.S. Attorney, military prosecutor, criminal defense attorney, military defense attorney, and just prior to his election, the Chief of Military Justice — the chief prosecutor—for Fort Carson, the 4th Infantry Division, and the U.S. Division North in Tikrit, Iraq. Colonel Brauchler serves as a military judge and legal advisor for NORAD-NORTHCOM in the Colorado National Guard. He has served as an adjunct professor at the University of Colorado School of Law, University of Denver College of Law, the U.S. Army JAG School, and has trained state, military, and international prosecutors across the United States and worldwide. George has appeared in documentaries and news programs about various high-profile crimes, as well as having provided commentary for national news media.

Mitch Morrissey was the elected District Attorney of Denver, Colorado from November 2004 until January 2017. Prior to 2004, Mitch was a trial lawyer in the Denver District Attorney’s office. Mitch is internationally recognized for his expertise in DNA technology, applying that technology in criminal prosecutions, and working to ensure that DNA science is admissible in court. He has trained law enforcement officers and prosecutors throughout the United States, in the Middle East, in Central America, and Canada.

A veteran prosecutor, Mitch introduced the first DNA evidence used in a criminal trial in Denver. The DNA Resource Section at the Denver DA’s website became a resource for people interested in forensic DNA throughout the world. Mitch spearheaded the Denver Cold Case Project, which reviewed over 4,200 unsolved sexual assaults and murders using DNA technologies to solve old cases. In addition, Mitch and the Denver Police Crime Lab introduced the use of DNA to solve burglary cases and other property crimes. During his tenure as Denver District Attorney, Mitch became the leading proponent in the United States of using Familial DNA Database Searches to solve violent crime.

After leaving the Denver D.A.’s office in 2017, Mitch co-founded United Data Connect, which has become a leader in solving cold case murders and rapes using investigative genetic genealogy. Through a unique partnership with law enforcement agencies across the country, United Data Connect has solved cold case murders and rapes and has identified the remains of unidentified individuals. United Data Connect has also become a leader in training genealogist to conduct investigative genetic genealogy efficiently and effectively.


Common Sense Institute is a non-partisan research organization dedicated to the protection and promotion of Colorado’s economy. CSI is at the forefront of important discussions concerning the future of free enterprise in Colorado and aims to have an impact on the issues that matter most to Coloradans. CSI’s mission is to examine the fiscal impacts of policies, initiatives, and proposed laws so that Coloradans are educated and informed on issues impacting their lives.