The Colorado Lifetime Supervision of Sex Offenders Act which went into effect in 1998, removed much of the discretion judges had in sex offender sentencing for crimes like Sexual Assault, Enticement of a Child, Internet Luring and Sexual Exploitation of a Child. It also created a way for the Department of Corrections, parole and probation departments to keep sex offenders under supervision for the rest of their lives. DOC now continues housing inmates for failing to complete sex offender treatment, even when treatment was not offered due to overcrowding.
No other class of crime has a provision where the length of sentence is so open-ended and arbitrary. See our Sex Offender Sentencing page. A Douglas County man found guilty of having illegal sexual contact can be sentenced to two years to life in a Colorado state prison. Once there, the wait list to getting treatment is longer than minimum sentences. Since Colorado courts do not like to intervene into DOC business, inmates have no legal recourse and are left to the mercy of the underperforming corrections department.
I have been practicing law in Colorado for over twenty-one years and never looked at a case in Denver, Arapahoe or Jefferson County where the circumstances were similar. Even though the charges are the same, some cases involve more egregious acts than others. I think judges should be given a broad range of options to apply in sex offender sentencing. However, legislators from Denver, Highlands Ranch, Jefferson County or Adams County are not reelected based on the opinions of criminal defense attorneys. They are elected and reelected based on the perceptions of ordinary people, whether accurate or not.
According to the annual report from the Colorado Department of Corrections – November 2012, there have been 1,940 people sent to prison under the provisions of the Lifetime Supervision Act since it went into effect. This does not include those given probationary sentences without prison. It is interesting to note that 42% of those in prison are past their parole eligibility date, and most of them are still serving their minimum sentence. This means that very few are being released. That is why if you are accused of a sex crime in Douglas, Arapahoe or Weld County, you should treat it as though your life is at stake – it is!
At the O’Malley Law Office, P.C., we understand how serious allegations of sex offenses and sex offender sentencing are, so we are ready to put our experience to work for you. Even before you make the important decision of hiring an attorney, remember to be smart, exercise your right to remain silent, then call us at (303) 731-0719. Together we can protect your future.