August 28, 2014

Colorado Court of Appeals: Defendant Convicted of Child Abuse and Incarcerated Allowed to Seek Refund of Restitution Paid When Conviction Overturned

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in People v. Nelson on Thursday, April 25, 2013.

Refund of Restitution—Overturned Conviction.

Defendant Shannon Nelson appealed from the district court’s order denying her motion for a refund of the restitution paid while she was incarcerated in the Department of Corrections (DOC). The order was reversed and the case was remanded.

Nelson was charged with forty counts related to the alleged sexual assault and physical abuse of her four children. Nelson appealed her convictions, and a division of the Court of Appeals reversed and remanded the case for a new trial. At her second trial, Nelson was acquitted of all of the remaining charges.

Nelson contended that the district court erred in concluding that it lacked the authority to order a refund of the restitution, fees, and costs that Nelson paid in connection with a conviction that was overturned when she was acquitted after retrial of all of the remaining charges against her. A defendant whose conviction is overturned on appeal is entitled to seek a refund of the restitution paid in connection with the overturned conviction when the People fail on remand to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the defendant’s guilt of the charged crimes. Such a defendant may seek the refund of restitution from the state in his or her criminal case without having to file a separate proceeding. Accordingly, Nelson was entitled to seek, and the district court was authorized to award, a refund of the fees, costs, and restitution that Nelson paid in connection with her now overturned conviction. The order was reversed and the case was remanded to the district court to consider on the merits Nelson’s motion for a refund of the restitution that she paid.

Summary and full case available here.

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