August 19, 2019

Colorado Supreme Court: Public Utilities Not Entitled to Intangible Property Exemption for Property Tax Purposes

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in Qwest Corp. v. Colorado Division of Property Taxation, Department of Local Affairs on Monday, June 24, 2013.

CRS § 39-4-102—Equal Protection—Uniform Taxation—Motion to Dismiss.

The Supreme Court affirmed the court of appeals’ ruling in favor of the Colorado Department of Local Affairs’ interpretation of CRS § 39-4-102. The Court held that Qwest Corporation, a public utility, is valued centrally and therefore is not entitled to the intangible property exemption or the cost cap valuation method found elsewhere in Colorado’s tax statutes. The Court also held that this valuation method does not violate Qwest’s constitutional guarantee under the Equal Protection Clause nor does it violate Qwest’s rights under the Uniform Taxation Clause of the Colorado Constitution.

Summary and full case available here.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Restitution for Lost Wages Justified but Reversed for New Findings on Value of Damaged Ring

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in People v. Henson on Thursday, March 28, 2013.

Restitution—Fair Market Value—Lost Wages.

Defendant Cassandra Henson appealed the district court’s order imposing restitution in the amount of $8628.31. The order was affirmed in part and reversed in part.

Henson stole the victim’s purse, which contained, among other personal property, a 1.5 carat European cut diamond ring that had belonged to the victim’s grandmother. Ultimately, the victim recovered the ring, but it was returned to her with the diamond in an unfinished state and approximately .2 carats smaller than it had been when it was stolen. The court ordered Henson to pay a total of $8,628.31 in restitution, including $2,925 in lost wages and $4,425.45 for the diamond ring. Henson appealed the restitution order.

Henson argued that the district court abused its discretion in awarding restitution for the victim’s lost wages based on the days that she investigated the theft of her purse, because there was no evidence that the victim had actually lost wages on those days. The evidence sufficiently supported the district court’s finding that work was available to the victim, and the victim was unable to work for six-and-one-half days due to her investigation of and the additional activities necessitated by Henson’s theft. The Court of Appeals concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion in awarding restitution in the amount of $2,925 for the victim’s lost wages.

Henson next contended that the district court erred in awarding restitution in the amount of $4,425.45 for the diamond ring. The district court properly sought to determine the amount of restitution to be awarded for the ring by (1) adding the replacement value of the diamond and the cost to repair the mount and mount the diamond, and (2) subtracting from that sum the value of the returned ring. Here, there is ample evidence in the record to support the district court’s findings that the cost of the replacement diamond was $4,750.45 and the cost to fix the ring mount and to mount the new diamond was $175. The evidence does not support the district court’s finding, however, that the value of the returned ring, which the victim decided to keep, was $500. Therefore, the district court’s order awarding restitution for the ring was reversed, and the case was remanded with instructions that the court reconsider the amount of such restitution.

Summary and full case available here.