June 26, 2019

Colorado Court of Appeals: Denver District Court Never Acquired Jurisdiction Over Juvenile Defendant

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in People v. Sandoval on Thursday, April 21, 2016.

Juvenile—Direct Filing—Subject Matter Jurisdiction—Crime of Violence.

Defendant was 16 years old when, at a party, he brought the victim a drink mixed with a crushed pill, which she drank. Afterward, the victim appeared to be dizzy, stumbled, and had difficulty talking. Then defendant, along with two other male teenagers, sexually assaulted the victim. The prosecution directly filed two charges against defendant: (1) sexual assault by causing submission of the victim through the application of physical force and (2) sexual assault of the victim while he knew she was incapable of appraising the nature of her conduct. The prosecution later dismissed the first charge, and a jury found defendant guilty of the second charge. The district court sentenced defendant to eight years of sex offender specific intensive probation and 90 days in jail.

On appeal, defendant contended that the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to sentence him because neither offense charged in the complaint was a crime of violence under C.R.S. § 18-1.3-406 and thus did not qualify for direct filing in the district court. Because neither count was a crime of violence under C.R.S. § 18-1.3-406, the charges were not eligible for direct filing in the district court. The court of appeals held that (1) the juvenile court had exclusive jurisdiction over the charge on which defendant was tried, convicted, and sentenced in the district court; (2) the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction; and (3) therefore, the judgment was a nullity and required dismissal.

The judgment and sentence were vacated and the case was remanded to the district court for dismissal.

Summary provided courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

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