The recent conviction and mandatory life sentence of Broomfield High School wrestling coach Travis Masse demonstrates why the 1998 Colorado Lifetime Sex Offender Supervision Act goes too far.
A jury convicted the 29-year-old former teacher Tuesday of sexual assault on a child by someone in a position of trust, determining that he had sexual contact with the student on three occasions after the two exchanged sexually explicit text messages. There was no evidence that the relationship was anything but consensual – to the contrary there was no evidence of force.
As an experienced Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer – I have discussed this law with many other practicioners – on both sides of the issue. There is considerable agreement among these men and women that Colorado sex-offender sentencing laws, which are the toughest in the nation, take away the primary justification for the election and periodic review of our judges – the responsibility for sentencing those convicted of crime.
The Colorado Sex Offender Sentencing system should be returned to a sentencing scheme – like almost all other crimes – that places on judge’s shoulders the responsibility to make the diffcult calls.
The District Attorney determines how to charge criminal cases. If the DA adds enhancers such as the Position of Trust label and Pattern of Abuse allegation to the sex crime charged – and there is a conviction – across the board – without distinguishing one case from another – it means a mandatory life sentence for the defendant,… a judge loses complete control of the sentencing decision.
This must end.