Denver The state Supreme Court cleared the way for 72 convicted sex offenders to be released from prison by Wednesday, saying the inmates had been improperly sentenced for parole violations.
Without comment, the justices denied requests Monday from Atty. Gen. Ken Salazar to review earlier rulings requiring the inmates' release.
The court ruled last year that lawmakers had committed a series of mistakes that cancelled a state law requiring mandatory parole for sex offenders who committed their crimes between 1993 and 1998. The court said the offenders parole terms should be stopped, and that anyone locked up for violating the terms should be released because the parole was improperly imposed.
Corrections Department Director John Suthers said 72 inmates will be released by Wednesday. Another 44 defendants will leave prison once the judges who sentenced them complete paperwork authorizing their release.
Suthers said 251 convicted sex offenders who are now on parole will be allowed to stop serving immediately, and 1,145 inmates whose sentences will end in the next 20 years will be placed on reduced parole terms if they are placed on parole at all.