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People v. Jones

Court of Appeals of Colorado, Division A

September 11, 2014

The People of the State of Colorado, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Zachariah M. Jones, Defendant-Appellant

City and County of Denver District Court No. 13CR5353. Honorable Elizabeth A. Starrs, Judge.

Mitchell R. Morrissey, District Attorney, Robert J. Whitley, Chief Appellate Deputy District Attorney, Denver, Colorado, for Plaintiff-Appellee.

Douglas K. Wilson, Colorado State Public Defender, Jud Lohnes, Deputy State Public Defender, Denver, Colorado, for Defendant-Appellant.

Opinion by JUDGE BERNARD. Loeb, C.J., and Casebolt, J., concur.

OPINION

BERNARD, J.

[¶1] In this felony case, the trial court set bond for defendant, Zachariah M. Jones. He posted the bond, and the jail released him from its custody. While he was free on bond, a second court found that there was probable cause to believe that he had committed another felony. Based on that finding, the trial court revoked his release on bond in this case, and it ordered that the jail hold him without bond until this case was resolved.

[¶2] Do we have jurisdiction over defendant's petition that asks us to review the trial court's decision to revoke his release on bond? We answer that question " no," and we therefore dismiss the petition for review.

Page 1129

I. Background

[¶3] Denver police officers laid the first paving stone in the road to this appellate proceeding when they arrested defendant in mid-October 2013. He allegedly possessed crack cocaine. He posted a $10,000 bond the next day, and the jail released him. Denver prosecutors filed felony charges based on the arrest about five days later.

[¶4] At the beginning of February 2014, while in Adams County, defendant allegedly shot his brother in the leg with a handgun. Armed with a warrant, Aurora police officers arrested him. He posted a $10,000 bond. Adams County prosecutors later charged him with second degree assault.

[¶5] Also in early 2014, Denver prosecutors charged defendant with attempted first degree murder and first degree assault. These charges arose out of events that allegedly occurred in 2011. A court set the bond in that case at $100,000. Defendant posted that bond, too.

[¶6] At the end of February 2014, a Denver prosecutor filed a motion to " Revoke Bond Pursuant to [section 16-4-105(3), C.R.S. 2013]" in the Denver crack cocaine case. The motion also stated that the prosecution was required to provide defendant with " reasonable notice of application for modification of bond" pursuant to section 16-4-109(3), C.R.S. 2013.

[¶7] The motion contained two basic assertions. First, an Adams County court had " found probable cause to believe" that defendant had committed the felony of second degree assault. The motion asked the court to revoke defendant's release on bond for that reason under section 16-4-105(3). See § 16-4-105(3) (court may revoke bond upon finding of probable cause to believe that defendant has committed a felony while released).

[¶8] Second, the motion contended that " [d]efendant's position ha[d] changed for the worse[.]" He was now charged with " three pending felony cases as opposed to one." The result of convictions in all three cases would be " mandatory prison sentence[s]." Even if the respective courts imposed concurrent sentences, defendant faced up to thirty-two years in prison.

[¶9] A few days later, the prosecutor supplemented the motion with a copy of the arrest warrant in the second degree assault case that an Adams County magistrate had signed. It was accompanied by a lengthy affidavit that described the events surrounding the alleged crime.

[¶10] The trial court held a hearing on the motion to revoke defendant's release on bond in early March 2014. Defendant, free on the three bonds, appeared.

[¶11] The prosecutor told the trial court that the purpose of the motion was " to revoke [defendant's] bond in its entirety . . . [to] have him held on a no-bond hold." After listening to arguments from both sides, the court concluded that section 16-4-105(3) gave courts discretion to revoke defendants' bonds and then to hold them in jail without bond. It added that the Adams County court had found probable cause to believe that defendant had committed a felony -- shooting his brother -- after the jail had released him on bond in the Denver crack cocaine case.

[¶12] The court then, exercising its discretion, granted the prosecution's motion. It ordered the jail to hold defendant without bond until the crack cocaine case was resolved. The court observed that defendant placed " everyone[]" at risk if he remained free in the community.

[¶13] The trial court issued a written order five days later. The order reiterated the court's conclusion that section 16-4-105(3) gave it " the power to revoke [defendant's] bond in this case."

[¶14] Defendant filed a petition for review in this court at the beginning of June 2014, relying on section 16-4-204(1), C.R.S. 2013. He asked us to " reverse" the trial court's decision to jail him without bond, and to order the trial court " to set bond in this case." The prosecution responded that we do not have jurisdiction over this case, but if we do, we should affirm the trial court's decision.

[¶15] We ordered the parties to provide us with supplemental briefs addressing the issues more extensively.

Page 1130

II. Jurisdiction

[¶16] The prosecution contends that we do not have jurisdiction over this petition for review. This contention takes the form of a syllogism:

1. The court of appeals is a statutory court, and it has jurisdiction over appellate proceedings only if the legislature has given it jurisdiction.
2. Defendant filed this petition for review under section 16-4-204(1), which states that (a) a defendant may " seek review . . . in the appellate court" for orders entered under sections 16-4-107 and 16-4-201, C.R.S. 2013, " by filing a petition for review" ; and (b) such a petition is " the exclusive method of appellate review" for orders entered under sections 16-4-104, C.R.S. 2013, 16-4-107, and 16-4-201.
3. The statute under which the trial court entered its order -- section 16-4-105(3) -- is not mentioned in the statute under which defendant filed this ...

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