The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in People v. Turecek, Jr. on April 12, 2012.
Defendant Robert Turecek, Jr. appealed the district court’s orders concluding that it had statutory authority to determine the question of restitution and imposing restitution on him after he pleaded guilty to fourth-degree arson. The orders were reversed.
Turecek was charged with first- and fourth-degree arson for setting fire to his house. He ultimately pleaded guilty to fourth-degree arson, and the parties stipulated in the plea agreement to a sentence of supervised probation and further agreed that restitution and costs of prosecution would be as ordered by the court. The prosecution filed a notice of restitution that contained, among other things, an estimate of losses sustained by the company that insured Turecek’s house (insurer). However, the court indicated that it would not act on the original notice of restitution because it did not contain accurate information. The court gave the prosecution ninety days to file an amended notice of restitution, noting that if additional time was required, the prosecution would need to seek an extension, and explain why an extension was required. Approximately nine months later, having filed nothing regarding restitution in the interim, the prosecution filed a motion asking the court to rule on the original notice of restitution. The court thereafter ordered Turecek to pay restitution.
Turecek contended that the district court erred in ordering restitution because the statutorily imposed ninety-day limit had passed, and the prosecution had failed to establish good cause for its belated effort to have the court set the amount of restitution. The statute is clear that if the court determines that the defendant is obligated to pay restitution, and if a specific amount was not set when restitution was ordered, then the specific amount of restitution must be determined within the ninety days immediately following the order of conviction, unless good cause is shown for extending the time period by which the restitution amount shall be determined. Here, the specific amount of restitution was not determined within the ninety days immediately following the order of conviction, and the People failed to establish (or even attempt to establish) good cause to extend that time period. Accordingly, the district court erred in imposing restitution.