Colorado Supreme Court to clarify if some sex offense sentences illegal

By Michael Karlik . . . Prosecutors will soon receive an answer to a question the state Supreme Court created in 2019: are hundreds of sex offender sentences in Colorado actually illegal?

Following the Court’s unanimous ruling in Allman v. People that criminal sentences are impermissible if they include both prison and probation, the justices have agreed to hear two appeals from the Denver District Attorney’s Office to clear up whether their decision extends to the sentencing of those who commit sex offenses.

If the answer is yes, current sentences would be up for revision or possibly repeal.

The cases scheduled for oral argument in March involve defendants sentenced under the Sex Offender Lifetime Supervision Act, which allows indeterminate sentences in the Department of Corrections that can last up to a lifetime for crimes ranging from sexual assault to child trafficking. A state review from 2016 found that the percentage of the prison population subject to lifetime sentences has slowly risen to roughly 9% of all inmates, and sex offenders with a sentence of any duration comprise one-quarter.

“There is no guarantee that the parole board will ever release a sex offender,” explains the Denver law firm of O’Malley and Sawyer. “A sex offender must also complete part of the Colorado Sex Offender Management Board treatment while they are in prison. Many times, due to limited treatment resources in DOC, the treatment program is already being used by the maximum number of inmates.”

The legislature also created sex offender intensive supervised probation that features a raft of conditions and restrictions on convicted individuals. Among other requirements, they must register as a sex offender, pay for their own genetic testing, refrain from contact with any children without approval and participate in a treatment program.

The Denver appeals will now enable the Supreme Court to clarify whether it intended to forbid the combination of prison and probation that SOLSA allows, even though the Court banned the practice generally.

Read the remainder of the piece here at Colorado Politics.

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    • #81082 Reply

      Tim in WI

      “An indeterminate term not to exceed 60 months”
      The exact words upon the Notice of Conviction -Dept. of Corrections, DOC-20
      Upon which I use as a foundation to make my pro we self defense.
      I literally force the SO Registration agent to speak those words in open court in front of the jury. At least he\she doesn’t have to memorize the words because it is right there in front of them upon the courts enormous 90 inch monitor. Because the -20 form doesn’t say “life term” IS a reason to doubt that the DOC agent complaint is valid & lawful in the context of Failure to register case.

      This fact being the SUBSTANTIVE ISSUES expressed by SCOTUS in Connecticut DPS v Doe. Before you can convict someone for prison escape or absconding P&P a state MUST first prove lawful the sentence was in place supporting of that fact. Those interested will also find support in Calder v Bull(4) descriptive of lessor evidence needed in the temporal promulgation of ex post law to crimes.(As in US V CARR and interstate travel)

      You know I’ve always thought guys with HUGE TVs tend to be making up for a shortfall in some other aspect.

    • #81203 Reply


      nevada: 5 years vs life.

      the old minimum 5 year term could be expired in 3.3 years with good time work time reductions. release occurred without psych panel certification, parole board approval or post release supervision.

      a life sentence cannot be reduced by good time or work time credits and release only occurs following a minimum of 5 full years, psych panel certification and parole board approval. post release parole supervision is for life.

      seems to me a problem here since no guidelines or standards were enacted to distinguish between the two distinct classes created by this scheme leading to arbitrary results at odds with 6th amendment jury trial rights.

      just sayin.

    • #81223 Reply


      Look, it all comes down to this: There was NEVER, and intent to ever let up on any kind of ‘Lifetime’ Registry Requirement in the first Damn Place. Whether or not it’s Colorado or any other State or Commonwealth. These so-called ‘Representatives actually=Modern Day Pharisees’ will do whatever they can, to continue getting Reelected or Elected over and again. If it means making guarantees that they will ensure the current ‘Scorched Earth Policy’ of obliterating the lives of persons who have completed their prison sentences, then that’s what they’ll do. But again; recall that, they won’t apply that to everyone. If one of THEIR SONS gets into the same kind of trouble, no jail, conviction, prison, just a series of slaps on the wrist…because it’s all about MONEY! Come on now, We all know it’s true!
      Nuff Said!

    • #81735 Reply


      They’re trying to run with the ball.
      Take a good look at everything going on in this country from coast to coast.
      Chaos and turmoil. Falling apart at the seams.
      Guess they figure torturing sex offenders will make things all better.
      Guess again.

    • #82265 Reply


      We need some kind of judicial review at the 8th circuit level for lifetime supervision. Unfortunately for us, the judges are as bias as the legislators who put these laws on the books. At 40 years old, I’ll probably never live to see the day that lifetime parole gets repealed or ruled unconstitutional.

    • #82710 Reply

      Old offender

      The registry itself is a form of life time supervision

    • #83213 Reply

      John S.

      Has there been any ruling by the Colorado Supreme Court on this decision or the way forward for both the accused, as well as the victims?

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