Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed a bill on Monday to repeal the death penalty in the state for any defendant convicted of a Class 1 felony. The bill will take effect for anyone convicted after July 1, 2020.
While the bill itself did not commute the sentences of the three men serving death sentences at the time of signing, Polis did commute their sentences after signing the bill.
Commutations are typically granted to reflect evidence of extraordinary change in the offender. That is not why I am commuting these sentences to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Rather, the commutations of these despicable and guilty individuals are consistent with the abolition of the death penalty in the State of Colorado, and consistent with the recognition that the death penalty cannot be, and never has been, administered equitably in the State of Colorado.
Though the death sentence will still be an option for those convicted of a Class 1 felony until July 1, these three commutations are a signal from the governor that the sentence should no longer be considered.