April 19, 2018

Colorado Court of Appeals: Exoneration Statute Does Not Apply Where Misdemeanor Conviction Still Stands

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Abu-Nantambu-El v. State of Colorado on Thursday, March 8, 2018.

Sexual Assault—Kidnapping—Felony—Misdemeanor—Exoneration Statute—Wrongful Conviction—Compensation.

Defendant was convicted of first degree sexual assault (a class 3 felony), second degree kidnapping (a class 2 felony), and third-degree assault (a class 1 misdemeanor) in the same case, all arising out of an incident in which the victim claimed that defendant had raped her. Thereafter, the felony convictions were vacated based on defendant’s successful Crim. P. 35(c) motion claiming ineffective assistance of counsel. The district court denied the Crim. P. 35(c) motion as to the misdemeanor conviction. Based on the order vacating his felony convictions, defendant filed a petition for compensation pursuant to the Exoneration Statute. The State moved to dismiss and the district court granted the State’s motion.

On appeal, defendant contended that the district court erred when it concluded that his misdemeanor conviction precluded him from filing a petition for compensation. He argued that because the Exoneration Statute addresses only wrongly convicted felons, the legislature could not have meant to include misdemeanor convictions within its parameters. The Court of Appeals concluded that the General Assembly intended to require that all convictions in a case be vacated or reversed for a petition for compensation to qualify for the district court’s consideration.

The judgment was affirmed.

Summary provided courtesy of Colorado Lawyer.

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