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People v. Porter

Supreme Court of Colorado, En Banc

May 26, 2015

The People of the State of Colorado, Petitioner.
v.
Reginald Marcus Porter, Respondent.

Certiorari to the Colorado Court of Appeals. Court of Appeals Case No. 11CA459.

Judgment Reversed.

SYLLABUS

This case addresses whether the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Colorado Constitution applies to noncapital sentencing proceedings. The supreme court overrules its prior holding in People v. Quintana, 634 P.2d 413 (Colo. 1981), based on the United States Supreme Court's holding in Monge v. California, 524 U.S. 721, 118 S.Ct. 2246, 141 L.Ed.2d 615 (1998), and its progeny. The supreme court holds that Colorado double jeopardy law does not apply to noncapital sentencing proceedings. Accordingly, double jeopardy does not bar trial of the defendant's habitual counts in this case.

For Petitioner: Peter A. Weir, District Attorney, First Judicial District, Donna Skinner Reed, Chief Appellate Deputy District Attorney, Golden, Colorado.

For Respondent: Robert P. Borquez, Denver, Colorado.

OPINION

HOOD, JUSTICE

Page 923

[¶1] We granted certiorari in this case to resolve a split of authority between divisions of the court of appeals regarding the following issue: Does double jeopardy bar a new habitual criminal sentencing hearing when the trial court erroneously dismisses the habitual counts before the prosecution presents any evidence as to those counts?

[¶2] The habitual criminal statute creates two separate phases of trial--one on the substantive counts (for which a defendant may request a jury), and one concerning habitual criminality (over which a judge must preside). In the case at hand, the court of appeals relied on our holding in People v. Quintana, 634 P.2d 413 (Colo. 1981), to conclude that jeopardy attached during the substantive phase of the defendant's trial and carried through the habitual phase. It therefore held that jeopardy precluded the trial court from adjudicating the defendant's habitual counts on remand. We now reverse that portion of the court of appeals' opinion.

[¶3] Since we decided Quintana, the United States Supreme Court has held that federal constitutional double jeopardy protections do not apply to habitual criminal proceedings. See Monge v. California, 524 U.S. 721, 734, 118 S.Ct. 2246, 141 L.Ed.2d 615 (1998). This case invites us to assess the continued vitality of Quintana. After carefully examining state and federal precedent following the Supreme Court's pronouncement in Monge, we conclude that circumstances have changed such that we should revisit--and overrule--Quintana.

[¶4] We hold that Colorado double jeopardy law does not apply to noncapital sentencing proceedings. Accordingly, double jeopardy does not bar trial of the defendant's habitual counts in this case.

I. Facts and Procedural History

[¶5] In 2002, Reginald Marcus Porter robbed and attempted to sexually assault a casino worker. He then tried to evade capture during a police chase. Based on these events, the prosecution charged Porter with two counts of first degree burglary and one count each of aggravated motor vehicle theft, attempted sexual assault, aggravated robbery, vehicular eluding, and third degree assault. The prosecution later added habitual counts. A jury found Porter guilty of all the substantive charges. The trial court adjudicated him a habitual offender. ...


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