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People v. McKimmy

Supreme Court of Colorado, En Banc

October 27, 2014

The People of the State of Colorado, Petitioner
v.
Michael Joseph McKimmy, Respondent

Certiorari to the Colorado Court of Appeals. Court of Appeals Case No. 11CA458.

SYLLABUS

In this case, the supreme court clarifies the process for invoking one's rights under the Uniform Mandatory Disposition of Detainers Act (" the UMDDA" or " the Act" ), § § 16-14-101 to -108, C.R.S. (2014). Even when prisoners do not strictly comply with the UMDDA's requirements, the supreme court has previously determined that they nevertheless invoke their rights under the Act if (1) their request substantially complies with the Act's requirements, and (2) the prosecution receives " actual notice" of their request. The supreme court now holds that, for purposes of substantial compliance under the UMDDA, " actual notice" means " actual knowledge." Therefore, the supreme court reverses the judgment of the court of appeals and remands with instructions to return the case to the trial court for further fact-finding. Specifically, the trial court should determine: (1) when the prosecution gained actual knowledge of the defendant's UMDDA requests in each of his cases, at which point the defendant would have effectively invoked his rights under the Act; and (2) whether any UMDDA violations subsequently occurred.

For Petitioner: John W. Suthers, Attorney General, Christine C. Brady, Senior Assistant Attorney General, Denver, Colorado.

For Respondent: Nicole M. Mooney, MS& M Law Office, Denver, Colorado.

CHIEF JUSTICE RICE delivered the Opinion of the Court. JUSTICE MÁ RQUEZ dissents. JUSTICE BOATRIGHT does not participate.

OPINION

Page 334

RICE, J.

[¶1] This case requires us to clarify the process for invoking one's rights under the Uniform Mandatory Disposition of Detainers Act (" the UMDDA" or " the Act" ), § § 16-14-101 to -108, C.R.S. (2014). When prisoners strictly comply with the UMDDA's procedural requirements, the Act mandates that they be brought to trial on pending charges within 182 days of their request. § § 16-14-102(1), 16-14-104(1), C.R.S. (2014). Even when prisoners do not strictly comply with the UMDDA's requirements, we have previously determined that they nevertheless invoke their rights under the Act if (1) their request substantially complies with the Act's requirements, and (2) the prosecution receives " actual notice" of their request. See People v. Mascarenas, 666 P.2d 101, 106 (Colo. 1983). In this case, the defendant did not strictly comply with the Act; rather, he attempted to invoke his UMDDA rights by mailing multiple letters to the prosecution and the trial court. But, while the prosecution received the defendant's initial requests, it failed to actually become aware of them until well later in the proceedings. We therefore must resolve, as an issue of first impression, whether the prosecution's receipt of such a letter constitutes " actual notice" sufficient to invoke a prisoner's rights under the UMDDA.[1]

[¶2] We conclude that it does not. Rather, we hold that, for purposes of substantial compliance under the UMDDA, " actual notice" means " actual knowledge." In this case, because the record is unclear as to precisely when the prosecution gained actual

Page 335

knowledge of the defendant's various UMDDA requests, we cannot determine whether any UMDDA violations occurred. Therefore, we reverse the judgment of the court of appeals and remand with instructions to return the case to the trial court for further fact-finding. Specifically, the trial court should determine: (1) when the prosecution gained actual knowledge of the defendant's UMDDA requests in each of his cases, at which point the defendant would have effectively invoked his rights under the Act; and (2) whether any UMDDA violations subsequently occurred.

I. Facts and Procedural History

[¶3] In September 2007, Respondent Michael Joseph McKimmy was arrested for new offenses while on parole and was incarcerated in the Jefferson County Jail. The People charged McKimmy, in two separate cases, with second-degree burglary, theft, identity theft, and a habitual burglary offender count; these cases are numbered 07CR2686 and 07CR3264. In 2008, the People filed complaints against McKimmy in two new cases, including charges for second-degree burglary, theft, ...


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