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People v. Cruz-Velasquez

Court of Appeals of Colorado, First Division

December 31, 2014

The People of the State of Colorado, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Selbin F. Cruz-Velasquez, Defendant, and Concerning Rueben Anthony Vargas, Surety-Appellant

City and County of Denver District Court No. 13CR3276. Honorable William D. Robbins, Judge.

John W. Suthers, Attorney General, Katherine A. Hansen, Senior Assistant Attorney General, Denver, Colorado, for Plaintiff-Appellee.

Rueben Anthony Vargas, Pro se.

Opinion by JUDGE RICHMAN. Taubman and Terry, JJ., concur.

OPINION

RICHMAN, JUDGE

Page 1059

[¶1] Surety, Rueben Anthony Vargas, appeals the district court's denial of his request for exoneration from bond liability. We affirm.

[¶2] Surety, a bonding agent, posted a $10,000 appearance bond on behalf of a criminal defendant, Selbin F. Cruz-Velasquez, who failed to appear as required at a hearing. Surety received a notice of bail forfeiture stating that the bond would be forfeited and that he had a right to request a show-cause hearing. See § 16-4-114, C.R.S. 2014. Nonetheless, surety did not request a hearing, and the court ordered the bond forfeited.

[¶3] Surety then filed a " Motion Seeking Exoneration of Bond Liability" and a " Motion Seeking Reconsideration of Bond Exoneration Liability Denial, or a Hearing into the Argument," both of which the court summarily denied. Through counsel, surety then filed a " Motion to Vacate Denial of Motion Seeking Reconsideration of Bond Exoneration Liability Denial, or a Hearing into the Argument." The court denied the motion in a written order. This appeal followed.

[¶4] We review for an abuse of discretion a trial court's decision on whether to set aside a bond forfeiture judgment. See People v. Escalera, 121 P.3d 306, 308 (Colo. App. 2005), superseded by statute on other grounds as stated in People v. Chavarria-Sanchez, 207 P.3d 902 (Colo. App. 2009).

[¶5] Where, as here, a surety receives a notice of forfeiture but fails to request a show-cause hearing, " [u]pon expiration of thirty-five days after the entry of forfeiture, the court shall enter judgment for the state against the compensated surety." § 16-4-114(5)(b)(III). However, " [t]he court may order that a bail forfeiture judgment be vacated and set aside. .. if it appears that justice so requires." § 16-4-114(5)(h). This standard is essentially an appeal to the conscience

Page 1060

of the court; no definitive rule can be set down that will guide the trial court in every instance because the court must consider the totality of facts and circumstances in each individual case. Escalera, 121 P.3d at 308.

[¶6] Surety argues that the district court abused its discretion by denying bond exoneration in this case. We ...


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