Judges change sentences for 267 offenders after review, DOC says

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DENVER — After reviewing thousands of court cases looking for possible errors in sentencing orders, the Colorado Department of Corrections announced Wednesday judges in only 267 cases have decided to amend sentencing orders, while about 1,200 were left alone.

The DOC sent 1,514 potentially questionable cases to judges for review. Just 18 percent (267) were corrected, while 1,238 were unchanged, the agency said.

The review concerned cases where criminals convicted of multiple crimes were mistakenly given concurrent sentences instead of consecutive terms.

In consecutive  sentences, offenders have to finish serving the sentence before they can start serving time for another. Concurrent sentences have defendants serve all sentences at the same time.

The review was ordered by Gov. John Hickenlooper following the death of DOC chief Tom Clements.

Clements is believed to have been killed by Evan Ebel, a parole who was released from prison years early because of an error that made his prison term concurrent.

Rick Raemisch replaced Clements in June.

DOC officials reviewed 8,607 files on inmates and sent questionable cases to judges for further review. Judges had to pull case files, review transcripts and listen to court recordings to determine if a correction was needed.

Of the 8,607 files reviewed, 3,249 (or 38 percent) had possible errors. A secondary review reduce that amount down to 1,807 cases, which were sent to judges to make sure they were correct.

Changes were made in 267 cases (or 18 percent). Another 280 cases are still pending review.