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CO: Supreme Court exempts people listed on registry from key 2019 decision

Ruling in 2019 prohibits sentencing defendants to prison followed by probation in same criminal case

The Colorado Supreme Court on Monday exempted people with a sex offense conviction from a key 2019 decision that prohibited defendants from being sentenced to prison followed by probation in the same criminal case.

People with a sex offense conviction in Colorado can face such punishment in some circumstances, the justices found in a pair of opinions that examined how the state’s sentencing laws for sex offenses drastically differ from sentencing for other crimes.

The 2019 ruling surprised many in Colorado’s legal system who had operated for years under the belief that it was fine to sentence defendants to prison followed by probation. The court’s decision that the practice was unlawful opened the door for hundreds of defendants to get out of prison or renegotiate their plea deals.

That type of sentencing was perhaps most often seen in cases involving sex offenses, and Monday’s pair of 5-2 decisions uphold the practice for defendants who are convicted of both a sex offense and another crime.

“Critically, while the general sentencing statutes reflect the legislature’s disapproval of consecutive prison-probation sentences, (the Sex Offense Lifetime Supervision Act), by contrast, reflects the approval of such sentencing,” Justice Carlos Samour wrote for the court. Chief Justice Brian Boatright and Justice Melissa Hart dissented.

“The fact that a particular sentencing arrangement proves useful does not make that arrangement legal,” Boatright wrote. “That summarizes my position.”

The cases were brought to the state supreme court by Denver District Attorney Beth McCann’s office, after one man’s sexual assault conviction was vacated because of the 2019 ruling and another man’s sentence was declared illegal. In a statement Wednesday, Chief Deputy District Attorney Robert Russel applauded the justices’ decision.

“These cases presented difficult issues of statutory interpretation, and the resulting opinions — both the majority and dissent –- are thorough and well-crafted,” he said.

The Colorado District Attorney’s Council also supported the ruling, saying in a statement that “decisions correctly identified the legislative intent to promote these dual prison/probation sentences, for people convicted of a sex offense specifically, in order to prevent future victimization and protect the health and safety of every community in our state.”

The decision gives some flexibility back to trial judges, who had gravitated to the prison-then-probation sentences in sex offenses in part because the sex-offense sentencing laws are designed for defendants who “clearly present a threat to public safety because of a psychological dysfunction in sexual behavior that needs to be treated,” said Stan Garnett, former Boulder County district attorney.

“The problem that the trial courts grapple with, and I saw this all the time when I watched them impose sentences, is that a lot of the people who present, don’t necessarily fit the stereotype of a dangerous person,” he said. “…This issue of whether probation can be imposed or not is rooted in trial judges trying to come up with a consequence they think is fair and works and is still consistent with the statute.”

Susan Walker, director of the Coalition for Sexual Offense Restoration, a nonprofit that offers support to people convicted of sexual offenses, said the court’s ruling is “a very bad thing.”

“It’s not good for any of the guys who have a sex offense,” she said. “Even those who had sentences reversed with the previous call will lose that step forward at this time. … It’s certainly not going to help people in that situation and it may send some people back (to prison) who thought they were done.”


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“… it may send some people back (to prison) who thought they were done.”


I have to wonder if they can really return someone to prison who has been released under this situation. Like to see legal precedent on that.

Before my offense, I was called for jury duty pretty regularly, and since my conviction I still get called but the form always said that if I was convicted of a felony I was exempt. Well, I just got another jury summons and things have changed. It now says that a felon is only exempt if they are on parole, probation of supervised release, otherwise a felon can participate if they have completed all conditions of the court…get ready…you know what’s coming…unless you are on the registry, then you may NEVER again participate in jury duty as long as you are on the registry.

So if I was a gang member convicted of dog fighting and in possession of a firearm and I served my sentence, then I am good to sit on the jury. But if I did an offense that had anything to do with sex, it doesn’t matter what, just that if you are on the registry then whatever you did was so heinous, so reprehensible, that you are forever unfit to stand in judgement of others.

15 years ago I viewed some images of adolescents in various stages of undress, and becasue of that I cannot sit on a jury and judge someone for armed robbery or carjacking, I am not fit to understand right from wrong, but all other persons convicted of felonies are, as long as they satisfactorily complete the DOJ requirements. But me, no, totally incapable of redemption.

This constant excluding people on the registry of any and everything available to all other people involved in the justice system is just blatant discrimintion, prejudice, harassment, and further punishment. I sat through five years in prison and saw all manner of inmates get various perks, opportunities, and extra time off, but those with sex offenses, even when non violent, were always excluded.

Isn’t being on the registry a form of supervised release? Seems so to me.


It has been challenged as a form of custody with mixed results in courts who think it is or isn’t, IIRC.

The Does II case in Michigan raised the same issue. Judge Cleland ruled that the requirements of the registry are not only a form of supervised release, or probation, he also ruled its punishment.

It is punishment precisely because a database is property. ** although Big Tech lobbyists insist these properties should be treated differently the other properties.***
In the case of SOR database it is the state’s people’s property. In my state the property is administered by the DOC Dept. of Corrections. A prison is also state’s people’s property administered by the Dept of Prisons, which is under the auspices of DOC. Probation and Parole are other divisions of DOC that are considered punitive because of the affirmative restraint applied by agents and policy.

That is the Hit Lists in general. PFRs (People Forced to Register) are excluded from a HUGE array of normal, productive, good-citizen activities. The point of the Hit Lists is to harass, segregate, and ostracize.

And the reason is sex. No other reason.

It is just so completely idiotic that people are listed on the Hit Lists for decades and we have actually millions of people who committed non-sex crimes, still are, and are actively dangerous TODAY that are not listed on anything or excluded from the HUGE array of activities. I think that might be what offends me the most about the Hit Lists – just the pure, unadulterated idiocy of it all. Just thinking about it makes a person dumber. But that is the essence of big government and the brainless mob that supports it all. Stupidity, low self-esteem, and self-hate.

I will say that I have no interest in participating in a jury or doing anything else that might help society. They are also smart to keep me off of juries because I would never help those criminals convict anyone of a crime.

Someone said it before. People are lazy, so they don’t research and pretty much believe anything that is being fed to them. It is easier for them. I am getting so tired of the “except Sex offender” cliche. They just don’t want to revisit the topic or educate themselves about how wrong they are about the registry. It is in black and white that the re-offense rate is low, yet they keep using this as an argument. Who lets them? Somebody needs to tell them to stop eating bonbons, get off your A*$ and start making things right for those who have suffered way too long for things that are based on blatant lies! Everybody has become a robot who can’t think for themselves any longer and who follow just because, no reason. Just because the majority of people are either too dumb or too lazy (or bioth) to build their own opinions based on facts. The facts are right in front of their faces, yet they can’t see them because they are too busy judging. So fed up.

My mom just bought house out there in Denver Colorado she’s always trying get me and my kids to move out there I thought about it but after doing a little homework I found out Colorado sex offender laws are pretty much the exact same as Californias.
At least in California I can petition the courts to be relieved of my duty to register next year but even that isn’t a foreshore thing we all know how DOJ loves to move the goal post at the last minute.
Anytime government agencies past a new laws and legislation on prison reform for ex-convicts just know sex offenders will always be exempted
The reason why is sex offenders are a liability nobody wants the blood on their hands if a sex offender got out of prison with no probation/parole and kidnapped and murdered an innocent person the first thing the public is gonna say is how did this guy get out of prison and why wasn’t law enforcement monitoring him and why wasn’t the people in the community notified when he moved into our neighborhood.
This is just another classic case of the government protecting their as from public out cry and protest and at the same time keeping heir boot on sex offenders neck.

Good luck 🗣

Hate, hate, hate. Love and forgiveness are increasingly hard to find in this world. The main reason I keep living is to spite those that wish me dead. I bet they can’t look themselves in the mirror and say they have no skeletons in their closet. With all that’s happening in this country, I see a civil war on the horizon. I will defend me and mine, F everyone else and theirs. See, the hate has spread to me now. I used to go out of my way to pay kindness forward, now I am a bitter person who cares for almost nothing. Thanks registry, thanks America.

Skeletons in the closet, lol, I recently read a study that said just one, only one, of the top porn sites had 30 billion hits last year. If you put the thousands of sites together you get astronomical figures which tells me that when I was in court and the jusdge and prosecutor were publicly humiliating me for looking at disgusting pictures (none of which were actually violent and none of which had adults in them), I have to conclude that of the 25 or so people sitting in the court listening to me get shamed I would say that probably all of them had viewed porn more thatn a few times. And many of the so called adult sites are based on humiliation and violence. So yeah, maybe that is why we are the scapegoat, it makes all those puritans with the skeletons in the closet feel a bit less shameful becasue at least they didn’t do what I did. You know?

You definitely make a very valid point, Other Eric! 👍🏻

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