Judges alter 267 inmates' sentences highlighted in Department of Corrections audit

Audit began after Evan Ebel committed 2 murders

DENVER - Judges have altered the sentences of 267 inmates following an audit of their cases by the Department of Corrections.

According to documents released Wednesday by the Department of Corrections, judges left 1,238 orders unchanged in the cases reviewed by the courts so far.

The CALL7 Investigators learned from DOC spokeswoman Allison Morgan that nine of the offenders were sent back to prison as a result of this audit. Twelve others were put back on a parole status.

At least two of them are at large.

Governor John Hickenlooper requested the audit on April 7, following the revelation that Evan Ebel was mistakenly released from prison early. In March, he absconded from his parole and killed two people.

In May, Hickenlooper signed into law a bill requiring the DOC to seek clarification from the courts when an inmate is sentenced to two or more terms of incarceration and the order doesn't clearly indicate whether the sentences should be served simultaneously or consecutively.

The judges' decisions are the final phase of the audit that documents show began with a pool of 8,607 cases. Previously the DOC told 7NEWS those files were reviewed by a temporary staff of "subject matter experts" made up of retired employees.

From that first review, 3,249 of the files went on to a secondary review by current DOC employees.

1,807 of those were found to contain the possibility of sentencing errors and were forwarded to the judicial review phase. The DOC says they're still awaiting responses in 280 cases and 271 others are still pending review.

The 267 inmates who had sentences altered by the judges were involved in 276 court orders, meaning some had more than one case.

In the 82 percent of cases affirmed by the courts, the DOC says the decision may have been based on the terms of a plea bargain, consideration of the law or because the original judge is no longer serving.

-- See the DOC's summary of the audit: http://ch7ne.ws/16Q5pNP

-- See the DOC's Microsoft Excel file containing the results of the audit: http://ch7ne.ws/18vBaLh

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