December 12, 2017

Colorado Supreme Court: Presentence Confinement Credit Only To Be Given for Charge Being Sentenced

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in People v. Torrez on Monday, October 2, 2017.

Criminal Law—Sentencing—Presentence Confinement Credit.

The Colorado Supreme Court reviewed the Colorado Court of Appeals’ opinion crediting defendant for a confinement period after a not guilty by reason of insanity verdict on an unrelated  charge. Under C.R.S. § 18-1.3-405, credit is to be given only where the presentence confinement is caused by the charge on which the defendant is being sentenced. Considering Massey v. People, 736 P.2d 19 (Colo. 1987), and People v. Freeman, 735 P.2d 879 (Colo. 1987), the court concluded that defendant was not entitled to presentence confinement credit for her confinement before or after the not guilty by reason of insanity verdict. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals in part and reversed in part, and remanded the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Summary provided courtesy of Colorado Lawyer.

Colorado Court of Appeals: District Court Had Discretion Whether to Award Presentence Confinement Credit

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in People v. Garcia on Thursday, August 25, 2016.

Presentence Confinement Credit—Youthful Offender System.

Defendant was charged as an adult with multiple felonies in two cases for offenses he committed while a juvenile. The cases were resolved through a disposition in which defendant pleaded guilty to one felony in each case. The parties stipulated to concurrent sentences in the custody of the Department of Corrections (DOC) with a controlling sentence of 18 years. The parties also agreed that each DOC sentence would be suspended if defendant successfully completed six years in the Youthful Offender System (YOS). The district court refused to award presentence confinement credit (PSCC) at sentencing.

Defendant appealed the court’s refusal to award PSCC. C.R.S. § 18-1.3-407(2)(a)(I) provides that the court “may award an offender sentenced to the [YOS] credit for presentence confinement; except that such credit shall not reduce the offender’s actual time served in the [YOS] to fewer than two years.” Defendant argued that this section was not discretionary, and that “may” meant “shall.” The Court of Appeals disagreed. The language of the statute is not ambiguous. The use of the word “may” is indicative of a grant of discretion by the legislature, particularly where it is used in the same sentence with the word “shall.” The Court noted that if defendant does not successfully complete his six-year YOS sentence and is resentenced to DOC, he will be entitled to an award of PSCC under C.R.S. § 18-1.3-405.

Alternatively, defendant argued that even if “may” is permissive, the district court abused its discretion in refusing to award PSCC. The Court held it was not an abuse of discretion for the district court not to award PSCC for the 358 days defendant spent in jail before he was sentenced in one case and the 418 days in the other. The Court found ample documentation in the record to support the district court’s decision.

The order was affirmed.

Summary provided courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Substantial Nexus Must Exist Between Confinement and Charge for PSCC

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in People v. Fransua on Thursday, May 19, 2016.

Calculation of Presentence Confinement Credit.

On October 25, 2013, Fransua was arrested and charged with first degree criminal trespass of a dwelling, second degree burglary, third degree assault, and harassment (the 2013 charges). He was released on bond on December 5, 2013. On March 1, 2014, Fransua was arrested for violating his bond conditions and trespass (the 2014 charges).

Fransua ultimately pleaded guilty to attempted burglary in the 2013 case in exchange for dismissal of all the other 2013 and 2014 charges. On June 16, 2014, he was sentenced to five years in community corrections. He served this sentence until September 23, 2014, when he walked away from the community corrections facility. He was arrested on October 19, 2014. On November 10, 2014, he was resentenced to five years in the custody of the Department of Corrections.

At resentencing, the court stated Fransua was entitled to presentence confinement credit (PSCC) for time served only on the case that he was sentenced on. The court found this amounted to 162 days, declining to award credit for the 108 days served from March 1, 2014 to June 16, 2014.

On appeal, Fransua argued the failure to award credit him for the 108 days was error. The Court of Appeals stated that a defendant is entitled to PSCC if the period of confinement was attributable to the sentence imposed.        Applying this test, the Court found that Fransua’s confinement from March 1, 2014 to June 16, 2014 was on charges that were independent and distinct from the 2013 burglary charge and there was no substantial nexus between these charges and the sentence imposed. Therefore, the district court was correct in not giving him PSCC for that time.

Fransua also argued that the district court miscalculated the time for which he did receive credit. The Court agreed, finding that he should have been credited 164 days, not 162, because the district court failed to count the first days of his 2013 and second 2014 jail confinements.

The order was affirmed in part and reversed in part, and the case was remanded.

Summary provided courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Entry Into Motor Vehicle Contemplated by Motor Vehicle Theft Statute

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in People v. Wentling on Thursday, December 3, 2015.

First-Degree Criminal Trespass—Evidence—Motor Vehicle Theft—CRS § 18-1-303(1)—Equal Protection—Presentence Confinement Credit.

Wentling was arrested in Utah after he was found asleep in a vehicle that had been reported as stolen in Colorado. Wentling was charged with multiple offenses in Colorado, including first-degree criminal trespass with intent to commit motor vehicle theft.

On appeal, Wentling contended that there was insufficient evidence to convict him of first-degree criminal trespass with intent to commit motor vehicle theft. However, the motor vehicle theft statute does not preclude prosecution under a general criminal statute, and the People had discretion to prosecute under either. Here, there was sufficient evidence that Wentling entered the motor vehicle with the intent to commit motor vehicle theft inside the vehicle, which was sufficient to prove first-degree criminal trespass with intent to commit motor vehicle theft.

In the alternative, Wentling contended that he was improperly prosecuted in Colorado in violation of CRS § 18-1-303 because he was previously convicted in Utah for the same conduct. Wentling’s prosecution under the Colorado statute was not barred by CRS § 18-1-303(1) because the law defining each offense was intended to prevent a substantially different harm or evil.

Wentling also contended that when the People charged him with first-degree criminal trespass with intent to commit motor vehicle theft rather than attempted motor vehicle theft, it violated his right to equal protection under the law because it subjected him to more severe punishment. Attempted motor vehicle theft and criminal trespass have different elements and, thus, it is permissible for the legislature to prescribe different penalties for similar conduct. Therefore, the trial court did not violate Wentling’s right to equal protection.

Wentling further contended that the trial court erred when it denied his request for 89 additional days of presentence confinement credit (PSCC). Wentling was entitled to PSCC from October 11, 2011, when he arrived in Moffat County Jail, until February 7, 2012, when he finished his Utah sentence, because this period of time resulted from the charges brought by the State of Colorado. The case was remanded to amend the mittimus to include the correct additional PSCC days.

Summary and full case available here, courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Colorado Court of Appeals: No Error in Denial of Presentence Confinement Credit for Nonresidential Corrections Program

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in People v. Pimble on Thursday, August 13, 2015.

Sentence—Presentence Confinement Credit—Nonresidential Community Corrections Program.

Defendant pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute a schedule II controlled substance and attempted first-degree aggravated motor vehicle theft. The court initially sentenced her to twelve years in community corrections and later reduced this sentence to six years. Her community corrections placement was subsequently terminated. The court then resentenced defendant to six years in the custody of the Department of Corrections (DOC) and granted defendant credit for time served. However, the court did not give credit for her time served in the nonresidential program.

On appeal, defendant contended that she was entitled to presentence confinement credit (PSCC) for time spent in a nonresidential community corrections program, and the court erred by refusing to amend the mittimus to include this as time served. A defendant resentenced to DOC custody is entitled to PSCC for any time served in a residential community corrections facility. However, a defendant must be confined to receive PSCC. Because defendant was not confined in the nonresidential program, she was not entitled to PSCC for this period of time. The order was affirmed.

Summary and full case available here, courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Defendant Entitled to One Extra Day of Presentence Confinement Credit

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in People v. Houston on Thursday, April 24, 2014.

Presentence Confinement Calculation.

The question in this case was whether the trial court erred in granting defendant 130 days of presentence confinement credit (PSCC) rather than the 724 days sought by defendant. CRS § 18-1.3-405 provides that “[a] person who is confined for an offense prior to the imposition of a sentence for said offense is entitled to credit against the term of his or her sentences for the entire period of such confinement.” There must be a “substantial nexus” between the offense and the period of confinement for which PSCC is sought.

On December 22, 2009, defendant was served an arrest warrant in Larimer County, and on November 5, 2010, he was sentenced to probation and released (first period). Defendant argued that he was entitled to 319 days of PSCC for this period, but the People argued he was entitled to only eighty-four days, reflecting the amount of time he was in custody in Jefferson County for a separate offense. The Court of Appeals agreed with the People. During the first period, defendant was in custody in Jefferson County for eighty-four days, and he was entitled to PSCC for that time. However, defendant was not entitled to PSCC for the remaining time he was confined in Larimer County, because the conduct for which he was confined was unrelated to this case and he was confined in a different jurisdiction.

The second period was from December 19, 2010, when defendant was arrested based on a revocation complaint filed in this case, to February 3, 2011, when the district court declined to revoke his probation and released him to probation. The only dispute was whether the amount of PSCC was properly calculated as forty-seven days or forty-six days. The district court granted forty-six days.

The Court was not certain, but believed the dispute was whether the PSCC should have included both the date of defendant’s arrest and the date of his release to probation. The Court concluded that defendant was entitled to credit for both dates, and therefore the trial court erred by one day in its PSCC calculation for the second period.

The third period was from December 28, 2011, when defendant was arrested in Denver County, to December 20, 2012, when he was sentenced to prison in this case. Defendant argued he was entitled to 358 days of PSCC for this entire period, and the People argued he was not entitled to any.

On March 24, 2011, another revocation complaint was filed in this case (second revocation complaint) and a warrant was issued for defendant’s arrest. In April 2011, a revocation complaint was also filed in the Larimer County case. Defendant was arrested in Denver County, and the record suggests he was arrested on the warrant in this case. During the third period, he was transferred to Jefferson County a number of times on writs from either Denver County or Larimer County. On July 3, 2012, an addendum to the second revocation complaint was filed, which added as a basis for revocation the charge filed against him in Denver County (the amended second revocation complaint). A new arrest warrant was issued on July 5, 2012. The district court ultimately revoked probation in this case and sentenced defendant to four years in prison.

During the third period, the amount of time defendant was in Denver, Larimer, or Jefferson Counties was unclear, and therefore there was no basis for the Court to allocate the PSCC due based on time in each jurisdiction. The Court held that the time defendant was confined in Denver County was based on defendant’s alleged failure to register as a sex offender in Denver County and not the second revocation complaint in this case. The Court found that the time defendant was confined in Larimer County was based on the revocation complaint filed in the Larimer County case. The Court declined to consider the time defendant was confined in Jefferson County, because defendant did not present any argument in the district court or on appeal that he was entitled to PSCC on the basis of his confinement in Jefferson County during the third period.

The order was affirmed in part and reversed in part. The case was remanded for the district court to award defendant one additional day of PSCC.

Summary and full case available here.

Colorado Supreme Court: Statute Regarding Presentence Confinement Credit for Felonies Does Not Apply to Probation

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in People v. Smith on Monday, February 3, 2014.

Felony Probation Sentence—Presentence Confinement Credit.

The Supreme Court held that the statutory provision governing presentence confinement credit for a felony offense, CRS § 18-1.3-405, does not apply to probation, and therefore does not apply to the jail component of a probation sentence. Accordingly, when sentencing an offender to probation with a jail component, the trial court has discretion whether to credit an offender for presentence confinement in full, in part, or not at all. The court of appeals’ decision was reversed and the case was remanded.

Summary and full case available here.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Defendant Improperly Denied Presentence Confinement Credit

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in People v. Henry on Wednesday, July 3, 2013.

Presentence Confinement Credit.

Defendant appealed his sentence,arguing that the district court erred in denying him any presentence confinement credit (PSCC).The sentence was reversed in part and the case was remanded for amendment of the mittimus.

While on mandatory parole in another case, defendant was charged with numerous offenses in this case. After defendant pleaded guilty to an added count of attempted sexual assault on a child, the district court sentenced defendant according to the agreement, but denied his request for 397 days of PSCC for the time he had spent in jail between the date of his arrest and the date of sentencing.

Defendant argued that the district court erred in denying him any PSCC. There was no dispute that defendant’s confinement from the date of his arrest (February 3, 2011) to the date of his sentencing (March 5, 2012) was caused by the charges filed in this case. Therefore, the district court erred both in concluding that defendant was not entitled to PSCC credit and in failing to include such credit in the mittimus. Because the court misapprehended its authority under the PSCC statute, that portion of defendant’s sentence was reversed and the case was remanded for the court to amend the mittimus to reflect 397 days of PSCC.

Summary and full case available here.