Colorado lawmakers to consider changes to felony sentencing statutes

By Shaun Boyd

On March 11, 2023

People convicted of certain felonies in Colorado could soon see reduced sentences.

A panel tasked with crafting criminal justice reform for the legislature is recommending changes to some felony statutes.

The Colorado Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice includes stakeholders from all sectors of the criminal justice system.

It voted Friday to refer bills to the legislature that would allow judges to waive mandatory consecutive sentences in certain circumstances and allow defendants in those cases to ask for a reduction in their sentence after two to five years.

The commission also recommended allowing defendants who receive a sentence of more than 23 years to ask for a reduced sentence after 10 years. 

Brian Mason, 17th Judicial District Attorney, who was part of the commission’s sentencing reform task force, says there are pros and cons to allowing defendants with lengthy sentences to request re-consideration: “What I worry about is the re-victimization of victims That said, I want defendants to behave well in (the Department of Corrections). I want defendants to try to turn their lives around and, for those that do, I’m okay with them having a second look.”

The commission also considered – but rejected – a measure to reclassify extreme indifference murder, which is currently a class 1 felony that carries a sentence of life without parole. The commission voted against making the crime a class 2 felony with a sentencing range of 24 to 60 years. Mason says while he would have considered a range that included life in prison, he was opposed to a sentence of as little as 24 years because, in Colorado, the offender could be paroled in half that time.

This piece was republished from the CBS News.

Leave a Comment