October 1, 2014

Colorado Court of Appeals: Defendant Sentenced Under Sex Offender Lifetime Supervision Act So No Error in Returning to DOC for Remainder of Indeterminate Sentence

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in People v. Beck on Thursday, August 1, 2013.

Crim.P. 35(c)—Sexual Assault on a Child—Probation—Revocation of Parole—Colorado Sex Offender Lifetime Supervision Act—CRS § 17-22.5-403(8)(b).

Defendant appealed the district court’s order denying his Crim.P. 35(c) motion. The Court of Appeals affirmed.

In 2004, defendant pleaded guilty to one count of sexual assault on a child, a class 4 felony. The trial court sentenced him to sex offender intensive supervised probation for ten years to life. After twice violating the terms of his probation, defendant was sentenced to two years to life in the custody of the Department of Corrections (DOC), plus parole of ten years to life. In 2009, defendant was released on parole. On October 8, 2010, the parole board revoked defendant’s parole and returned him to the DOC for the remainder of his sentence—that is, his natural life—because he had violated the conditions of his parole when he was terminated from a sex offender treatment program for noncompliance.

Defendant argued that the district court erred in deciding that CRS § 17-2-103(11)(b) authorized the revocation of his parole for the remainder of his indeterminate sentence rather than a maximum of 180 days. CRS §§ 17-2-103(11)(b) and 17-22.5-403(8)(b), which both address the length of time the parole board may return a sex offender to the DOC on revocation of his or her parole, are in conflict and cannot be reconciled. The specific and more recent statute, CRS § 17-22.5-403(8)(b), prevails when the parolee is on parole for a sex offense that falls within the purview of the Colorado Sex Offender Lifetime Supervision Act (SOLSA). The plain meaning of CRS § 17-22.5-403(8)(b) is that the General Assembly gave the parole board the discretion to revoke a sex offender’s parole for the rest of his or her indeterminate sentence.

Here, defendant is a sex offender under SOLSA subject to CRS § 17-22.5-403(8)(b) because he committed the offense in 2003 (after the effective date of SOLSA), and his conviction of sexual assault on a child is a sex offense under SOLSA. Therefore, the parole board was authorized to revoke defendant’s parole for the remainder of his sentence under CRS § 17-22.5-403(8)(b) and the district court did not err in denying his Crim.P. 35(c) motion.

Summary and full case available here.

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