Here’s a hypothetical we pose today for Colorado readers of our blog posts at the Denver criminal defense law firm of Shazam Kianpour & Associates.
To wit: Imagine that you were convicted of a sexual crime and dutifully complied with the sentencing dictates imposed on you. Let’s say that you fully completed a term of incarceration and satisfied all probationary requirements.
Your expectation in the wake of those exactions was that you would be able to resume your post-sentencing life absent a punishing and enduring stigma that might materially limit your reasonable opportunity to live freely.
You were wrong. Colorado’s Sex Offender Registration Act passed in 2002 has subjected you to the state’s steady and continuous scrutiny since your release. You have found the law to be a delimiting bar on your opportunities to secure employment, find housing and escape continuing social condemnation.
In real life, that scenario actually plays out routinely for legions of Coloradans who have served sentences relevant to sex charge charges. A federal judge ruled in a 2017 decision that Colorado’s 2002 legislation was unconstitutional as an “additional punishment” measure violating constitutional protections against cruel and unusual treatment against convicted offenders.
Although that ruling was of course lauded by those affected by it, their high hopes for the elimination of the registry took a serious hit just last week in the wake of a federal appeals court pronouncement. That tribunal reversed the lower court, ruling that Colorado’s registry has always been intended as an administrative – and not a punitive – exaction. The court wrote that any registry-linked outcomes are merely “collateral consequences” that must be endured.
The debate concerning Colorado’s sex registry law is ongoing, as is discussion concerning its post-sentencing effects on criminal defendants. Questions or concerns regarding the registry or a sex-crime charge can be directed to a proven criminal defense law firm.