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Curtiss v. State

Court of Appeals of Colorado, Seventh Division

August 14, 2014

Eric Curtiss, Petitioner-Appellant,
The People of the State of Colorado, Respondent-Appellee.

El Paso County District Court No. 13CV2041 Honorable Marla R. Prudek, Judge

McClintock & McClintock, P.C., Theodore P. McClintock, Colorado Springs, Colorado, for Petitioner-Appellant

John W. Suthers, Attorney General, Jillian J. Price, Assistant Attorney General, Denver, Colorado, for Respondent-Appellee

Sternberg [*] and Kapelke [*] , JJ., concur



¶ 1 Petitioner, Eric Curtiss, appeals the district court's order denying his petition to discontinue sex offender registration. We affirm.

I. Background and Procedural History

¶ 2 In February 1995, Curtiss pleaded guilty to the felony charge of first degree sexual assault of a child in Oneida County, Wisconsin. See Wis. Stat. § 948.02(1) (2013). In Wisconsin, that charge is a class B felony with a mandatory potential imprisonment not to exceed twenty years. Curtiss was sentenced to five months in the Oneida County jail, eight years of probation, and he was required to register as a sex offender as a condition of his probation. According to Curtiss, he completed his sex offender treatment in 2003.

¶ 3 At some point after his conviction in Wisconsin, Curtiss moved to Colorado and registered as a sex offender in this state. In May 2013, Curtiss filed a petition in district court, requesting to be removed from the Colorado sex offender registry (the registry). The El Paso County District Attorney objected to Curtiss's petition, arguing that, under section 16-22-113(3)(b)(II), C.R.S. 2013, Curtiss was ineligible to discontinue registration because he had been convicted of an offense comparable to Colorado's offense of sexual assault on a child. A letter from the Oneida County District Attorney similarly objecting to "the court releasing [Curtiss] from his requirements to register as a sex offender" was attached to the District Attorney's objection.

¶ 4 The district court held a hearing on the petition and then issued a written order in which it denied Curtiss's request to discontinue registration. The court concluded and reasoned as follows:

It is clear from the language used in the registration statute [section 16-22-103, C.R.S. 2013] that the legislature intended that persons with out of state convictions for unlawful sexual offenses be required to register in the State of Colorado just as those persons convicted in Colorado are required to do. In construing the registration and eligibility to discontinue registration statutes together and in harmony with the overall statutory design, the Court finds that the Petitioner is not eligible to discontinue registration based upon the language in [section 16-22-113(3)(b)(II), C.R.S. 2013]. If the Court read the statute as urged by defense counsel that would mean that a person with an out of state conviction for an offense comparable to sexual assault on a child in Colorado would be eligible to discontinue registration but a person convicted in Colorado of the same offense would not be eligible to discontinue registration. That result would be inconsistent with [the] intent of the legislature as expressed in the statutes regarding registration and discontinuing registration read as a whole and unfair to those persons convicted in the State of Colorado.

¶ 5 The sole issue on appeal is whether the district court erred in denying Curtiss's petition to discontinue registration. We conclude the district court did not err.

II. Standard of Review and Applicable Law

¶ 6 Statutory interpretation is a question of law we review de novo. Montez v. People, 2012 CO 6, ¶ 7, 269 P.3d 1228, 1230. Our primary task in construing a statute is to give effect to the intent of the General Assembly by looking first at the language of the statute. People v. Brooks, 2012 COA 52, ¶ 7, 296 P.3d 216, 217. We are guided by the well-established principles of statutory interpretation in our review. As with any statute, our primary task is to give effect to the General Assembly's intent by first examining the statute's plain language. See Wiesner v. Huber, 228 P.3d 973, 974 (Colo.App. 2010); Francis ex rel. Goodridge v. Dahl, 107 P.3d 1171, 1176 (Colo.App. 2005). We must read and consider the statute as a whole in order to give consistent, harmonious, and sensible effect to all of its parts. Rodriguez v. Schutt, 914 P.2d 921, 925 (Colo. 1996); see § 2-4-201(1)(c), C.R.S. 2013 (a court must presume that the General Assembly intended a just and reasonable result). We will give effect to the plain meaning of the statute's words and phrases, unless the result of doing so is absurd or unconstitutional. Rodriguez ...

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