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CO: Divided state Supreme Court ruling allows convicted man to terminate sex offender registration

[ – 5/19/20]

In a 4-3 decision, the Colorado Supreme Court has ruled that a criminal defendant was entitled to his request to de-register as a sex offender because he completed the terms of his probationary sentence and therefore no longer had a conviction under the law.

Brian Keith McCulley pleaded guilty in 2000 to two counts of sexual assault. One of the charges, a misdemeanor, resulted in 60 days in jail while the other, a felony, carried a deferred judgment. In Colorado, deferred judgments allow for completion of probation lasting a period of months to years. If the defendant satisfies the conditions of probation, the court dismisses the case.

For his felony, McCulley had to serve four years on probation and register as a sex offender. In 2004, he completed the probation and a judge withdrew McCulley’s guilty plea and dismissed the charge against him.

Years later, in 2016, McCulley petitioned to de-register as a sex offender. The Colorado Sex Offender Registration Act prevents someone who has more than one conviction from requesting such a discontinuation. Prosecutors argued that the law included the deferred judgment as a “conviction,” even though McCulley countered that his record, as it stood, only included one misdemeanor sex crime conviction.

A district court agreed with the prosecution, claiming that the “legislative intent” of the law was to bar even those with deferred sentences from de-registering in the state’s offender tracking system. The Colorado Court of Appeals also reached the same conclusion.

Read the full article

Download the decision:

Colorado Supreme Court allows convicted man to terminate sex offender registration 5-18-20 2020-18sc577

Join the discussion

  1. SR

    “Justice Brian D. Boatright looked to the same clause about defendants who “received a deferred judgment and sentence” and reached the opposite conclusion: the law did not mention those with completed sentences because it did not envision special treatment for them.”

    Why would it need to specifically mention it if to a layman having no conviction via dismissal and SORA talking about a “conviction” would have SORA nothing to look at at that point? CA very specifically added an amendment to neuter our dismissal (1203.4).

    But I do wonder how the new tiered registry will interact with our 1203.4? 1203.4 in itself doesn’t automatically end registration. But all of tiered registry language specifically refer to being convicted. And the language of the amendment that doesn’t allow automatic de-registration doesn’t specifically state that you still have a conviction for the purposes of the registering. It sounds similar to what happens in this case.

    And I don’t buy the reasoning in this case (and potentially in CA) of judges assuming what was and wasn’t the intention of legislation when people suddenly realize the unforvorables might have something positive. If you’re going to say their intention wasn’t to have this “loophole”, then you also have to consider their intention wasn’t to have families of registrants suffer along side them and it must be corrected. Because if its okay for them to be unintended collateral damage, then they should also accept unintended benefits are fine as well.

  2. H

    I hope this kind of outcome comes to Texas at some point

    • Wowzers

      So, glad the lower scum courts lost !
      Or we the people would be screwed again for garbage legal Uh ozzeez did not mean to punish and punish and punish at every angle and level and aspect of the defendants life …
      Were just doing our job to protect !
      If you, i or anyone in this crap hole of a democratic Gov. In and on our job caused liss of liberty, put lives in danger, caused unthinkable hell and deprivations and restraints etc.
      Oh ! the IRONY !!!

    • Hostage in Texas

      Absolutely right! The Texas deferred adjudication scam needs to end. and end now. Since its not a conviction and dismissed by the court. Why do we need to register lifetime? Makes no sense. We need to get Janice and Richard Gladden on this problem. There are thousands of registered citizens in Texas that have had deferred adjudication probation and successfully completed it but are still required to register lifetime. I am one of those and also am classified as low risk. I hope this court case will set the stage for better things to come.

  3. Jack7170

    What kind of headline is that?? We won.

  4. G4Change

    Maybe now Colorado will get off its ass and rule on the “Judge Matsch Case”. I call it that because I don’t know the actual name of the case. But I’m sure most know what I’m referring to.

    • TS


      Millard v Rankin is the Judge Matsch decision from CO you’re thinking of.

      I don’t know if this case here would help the decision but the recent PA decision could.

      • G4Change


        Thank you for citing the case.
        I hope Judge Matsch’s decision is upheld. I agree that with the events in PA and maybe even the events in Michigan – hopefully these courts can see the writing on the wall.

        • Saddles

          Change I liked that about writings on the wall from Daniel. Yes it is time for a change in a lot of this justice system.. I see Tim brought up Deferred prosecution and yes they can and will try to adjucate one either before, during, or after. In my case they come to me to sign a paper after completion of my registry classes saying I knew I was talking to a teenager and yes that was my PO.

          My sister said to me might as well go ahead and sign it you’ve signed everything else, I didn’t sign it even under that circumstance as that is actually taking the blame off the state and cooking one’s goose as they say.

          A house divided cannot stand. Doesn’t matter if one drove a mack truck at someone or put it in gear to slam dunk another in this intent. What really matters is who know’s the thoughts and intent of a person. Heck the state doesn’t know what the intent of this virus is all about, where it came from, or the reason, or is the state doing a cry me a river feedback of justice. That is what Jesus is about true justice based on principals and understanding and wisdom.

          These manulipated methods are a bit much in many ways. A bit of punishment doesn t hurt but enought is enought or how many agents get caught with their hands in the cookie jar today and yes we all have a true Advocate of grace and truth and yes the bible does say try the spirits. One wonder who is testing who/

  5. Tim in WI

    Deferred prosecution is just another play from the book of the prosecutor. An offer of deferred prosecution was made to me in 1991. I rejected the offer immediately, I knew wasn’t guilty.

    As you can see in this case, the prosecutorial ploy is used to manipulate the defendant in bad faith. If one enters into a deferred prosecution agreement the defendant is still required to admit capability as part of it, and indeed sign away rights and privileges. Doing so limits the defense by collateral implication to direct and indirect appeals. What state’s prosecutors are really after is a volunteered signature upon their best weapon: THE VOLUNTARY WAIVER OF RIGHT FORM. It is a multipurpose standardized form used by the judicial branch which serves several advantages to the state’s position. This is a reason why the plea bargain is often put forth with limited exposure of incarceration to defendants. It is the prosecutors best weapon in post conviction civil actions on the issue too, like the demand for registration.

    It makes one wonder if good faith is in place at all among the people’s leadership. The majority here rests it’s good faith and trust that defendants must be cognizant at the time of trail ALL of the obligations of pain and penalty owed the people upon conviction. A reasonable balance between citizen and lawful government acting in good faith toward one another.

  6. Eli

    I would like to know if anyone were able to get off probation early on deferred adjudication? did you serve half your time?

  7. Saddles

    I’m glad someone is using wisdom today or if anyone knows wisdom or do we all learn and yes even judges. Seems like things are getting deep in America since this pandermic. Image a women scientist being fired for distorting data. One wonders who’s distorting the truth in many of these offender ordeals or should we all go back to the Serenity Prayer.

    I made a coment on here about the telegraph and the first message sent. What has God wrought and it seemed to go over everybodys head. One wonders if we are all being a bit cynical or are judges still hashing out harsh laws in many ways. I hope respect is still a two way street or is it a one way street today. Believe we all have a master and yes he is the one that gives us all wisdom or are we still clueless in Seattle. So where is wisdom today. One wonders who is clueless?

  8. TR

    There should be a point of termination from being on the sex offense registry, so that individuals that are no longer on it can live their lives freely and unmolested, because it’s a waste of time to just keep them tracked and notified for long periods of time like that, which is just pointless and does more harm than good. The people that want to keep the registry going indefinitely just because they want them to comply may be the problem because they don’t want to let go and usually seek vengeance instead of seeking help.

  9. Matthew

    this —–> However, once he completes the terms of his sentence, he is no longer “convicted.”

    That is exactly the mindset we need

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