Summaries of Published Opinions, 1120 COBJ, Vol. 49, No. 10 Pg. 104

PositionVol. 49, 10 [Page 104]

49 Colo.Law. 104

Summaries of Published Opinions

Vol. 49, No. 10 [Page 104]

Colorado Lawyer

November, 2020


September 3, 2020

2020 COA 132. No. 18CA0224. People v. Ehlebracht. Criminal Law—Sexually Violent Predator—Sex Offender Lifetime Supervision Act—Sentencing—Probation—Double Jeopardy.

Defendant, who was 29, met the 14-year-old victim on a social media application. He took her to his apartment, gave her alcohol, and sexually assaulted her. Defendant pleaded guilty to first degree assault and sexual assault on a child without the use of force. The plea agreement stipulated that defendant would receive a 20-year prison sentence, followed by five years of parole, for die assault conviction; and a 10-years-to-life probation sentence for the sexual assault on a child conviction, to be served consecutively to the prison sentence but concurrently with the parole component. At the sentencing hearing, the court sentenced defendant in accordance with the plea agreement and designated him a sexually violent predator (SVP).

On appeal, defendant challenged his SVP designation. The Court of Appeals first addressed whether Allman v. People, 2019 CO 78, which held that a court may not sentence a defendant to both prison and probation in a multicount case under the general probation statutes, made defendant's consecutive sentences to both prison and probation illegal. Here, the district court sentenced defendant to probation pursuant to the Sex Offender Lifetime Supervision Act (SOLSA). The sentencing scheme applicable to sex offenders under SOLSA differs from the general probation statutes, so Allman's reasoning for prohibiting both prison and probation sentences in a single case doesn't apply to sentences imposed under SOLSA. Accordingly, defendant's consecutive prison and probation sentences were authorized by statute and not illegal.

Defendant also contended that the district court failed to make specific factual findings to justify its conclusion that he established the relationship with the victim primarily for sexual victimization; instead, the court erroneously relied on defendant's two prior convictions for sex offenses involving children. Here, the trial court relied on the results of the SVP Assessment Screening Instrument (SVPASI), in which the evaluator found that defendant established a relationship with the victim for the purpose of sexual victimization. Further, the court's technically erroneous description of defendant's prior convictions didn't undermine its conclusion that he established the relationship with the victim primarily for sexual victimization. Thus, the trial court did not err.

Defendant further argued that his sentences violatedhis right to befree from double jeopardy by imposing the sex offender, crimes against a child, and special advocate surcharges after the sentencing hearing. Because defendant's sentence at the hearing didn't include these mandatory surcharges, it was illegal when first imposed and subject to correction at anytime under Crim. P. 35(a). Therefore, the court' s s ubsequent addition of these surcharges didn't violate defendant's double jeopardy rights. However, the statutory provisions imposing these surcharges allows the court to waive them if it finds that the offender is indigent or financially unable to pay all or a part of the surcharge. Here, the district court imposed the surcharges without giving defendant an opportunity to prove that he falls within one or more of the exemptions.

The orders designating defendant an SVP and assessing the statutory surcharges were affirmed. The case was remanded to afford defendant an opportunity to prove that he is entided to a waiver of one or more of the surcharges.

2020 COA 133. No. 19CA1075. Bilderback v. McNabb.

Sovereign Immunity— Colorado Governmental Immunity Act—Emergency Vehicle Exception—Trinity Hearing.

Officer McNabb was stopped at a red light at an intersection when he received an emergency call. As the officer drove through the red light and proceeded through the intersection, Bilderback's motorcycle collided with the patrol car. Bilderback sued Officer McNabb and the City and County of Denver (collectively, defendants) for damages. Defendants moved to dismiss under CRCP 12(b)(1), arguing that Bilderback's claims were barred by sovereign immunity under the Colorado Governmental Immunity Act (CGIA). The district court denied the motion without a hearing.

On appeal, defendants argued that the district court misconstrued CRS § 42-4-108(2) (b). They contended that the statute addresses the driver's conduct before entering the intersection, and the court erred by reading into the statute a requirement that an officer drive slowly after entering an intersection and while passing through it after the officer already has the right-of-way. Under CGIA § 24-10-106(1) (a), a public entity's immunity is waived in an action for injuries resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle owned or leased by the public entity, by a public employee while in the course of employment, except emergency vehicles operating under CRS § 42-4-108(2) and (3). Among other conditions, the CGIA's emergency vehicle exception states that an emergency vehicle driver may proceed past a stop signal, but only after slowing...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT