A recent ruling by the Colorado Supreme Court could allow prisoners a renewed opportunity at freedom, including some that were sentenced here in Mesa County.

The Court ruled defendants could not be sentenced to both prison time and probation at the same time, saying the sentences are illegal and unenforceable.

This means that no matter the crime, including sexual crimes, it could be reviewable and will force prosecutors to start each case all over. For those already out of prison on plea deals could request to have those deals overturned.

Prosecutors in the state had assumed for years the sentencing structure was good, and that they could use the tiered sentencing structure to ensure some inmates would be supervised throughout their lifetimes.

The court said the legislature intended to provide prison or probation for a crime, but not both. The state attorney general has until October 28 to file a petition for the court to re-hear the case.

This decision mostly affects defendants who signed plea deal agreements, which could number into the thousands. If a defendant was sentenced by a jury, however, they would only be resentenced.

Mesa County is one of the judicial districts that have used sentences like that that will have those sentences scrutinized.

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