Randy Ankeney was once a rising star in the Colorado Republican party, only to become a pariah after being found guilty of numerous sex crimes. However, he now has the opportunity to impact the state in a completely different way. A complaint he brought about alleged prisoner-release violations by the Colorado Department of Corrections is headed to the state supreme court, and if it's successful, his attorney, David Lane, says it could result in potentially thousands of inmates who've been incarcerated too long being freed. Details, more photos and original documents below.
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The case is exceedingly complex, but Lane, who just spoke to us about the lawsuit he filed on behalf of Clayton Lockett, the Oklahoma killer whose execution was horribly botched earlier this year, sees its possible impact as simple. In his words, "The State of Colorado will immediately have to parole thousands of inmates if we win."
Five years later, Ankeney got into trouble again, this time in regard to a twenty-year-old woman. The Independent notes that he was " originally slapped with three felony sex offenses and two misdemeanor charges, ranging from sexual assault to false imprisonment." According to the opening brief to the Colorado Supreme Court (one of three documents shared here), the cumulative cases resulted in convictions for child abuse -- negligently cause serious bodily injury, plus third-degree sexual assault and stalking -- emotional distress.
For these crimes, Ankeney was sentenced to a total of eight years, with the possibility of parole after considerably less time -- and when that parole should have kicked in is the crux of the Supreme Court case.
"Envision a sentence as a timeline," Lane says, "with your first day of incarceration on the left and the inmate serving time from left to right. The first significant date is the parole eligibility date. That's determined by statute as 50 percent of the sentence" -- in Ankeney's case, four years -- "if you've been behaving yourself. And the other significant date is the mandatory release date, when they can't hold you any longer -- they have to parole you. And good behavior should make that timeline move back from right to left."
|Rick Raemish, executive director of Colorado's Department of Corrections, seen in a 7News interview, is among the plaintiffs named in the complaint.|
However, Lane argues that the DOC "is refusing to use good time to calculate your mandatory release date." As a result, "they said Ankeney's mandatory release date wouldn't hit until he'd served six years and change."
In response, Lane goes on, "Ankeney called bullshit and filed his own case in district court."
He lost his first attempt "because the parole statutes are massively complicated and confusing," Lane points out. "But then he took his own appeal to the Court of Appeals and won."