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Chavez v. People

Supreme Court of Colorado

November 2, 2015

Anthony James Chavez, Petitioner:
v.
The People of the State of Colorado, Respondent:

Certiorari to the Colorado Court of Appeals. Court of Appeals Case No. 10CA1530.

Judgment Affirmed.

SYLLABUS

Defendant Anthony Chavez appeals his indeterminate sentence of imprisonment for fifteen years to life on a class three felony conviction for sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust--pattern of abuse. A class three felony carries a presumptive penalty range of four to twelve years' imprisonment.

The supreme court holds that where a defendant is convicted of a sex offense that is also a crime of violence he must be sentenced to an indeterminate sentence of incarceration with a minimum term in the enhanced, crime-of-violence range. The trial court was therefore required to sentence the defendant to incarceration for a minimum term of between eight and twenty-four years and a maximum term of his life. Because the defendant's sentence satisfies those requirements, the supreme court affirms the judgment of the court of appeals upholding the legal sentence.

For Petitioner: Ellen K. Eggleston, Denver, Colorado; Daniel P. Gerash, Gerash Steiner, P.C., Denver, Colorado.

For Respondent: Cynthia H. Coffman, Attorney General, Katharine Gillespie, Assistant Attorney General, Denver, Colorado.

For Colorado Criminal Defense Bar, Amicus Curiae: Antony M. Noble, The Noble Law Firm, LLC, Lakewood, Colorado.

For Michael J. Gallagher, Chad D. Williams, Mark E. Champoux, Kyle W. Brenton, Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP, Denver, Colorado.

OPINION

Page 1041

HOOD, JUSTICE

[¶1] Petitioner Anthony James Chavez was convicted of a sex offense, and the trial court imposed an indeterminate, fifteen-year-to-life sentence. Chavez challenges the legality of this sentence, alleging that the trial court did not understand the range of its sentencing options. He argues the prosecution was wrong in representing to the trial court that he had to serve at least eight years in prison. In fact, Chavez argues, he was eligible for probation. He asks that we reverse the judgment of the court of appeals upholding his sentence, see People v. Chavez, No. 10CA1530 (Colo.App. July 11, 2013), and remand his case for resentencing. Because we conclude that Chavez received a legal sentence, we must decline his request.

[¶2] Consistent with our recent decision in People v. Hunsaker, 2015 CO 46, 351 P.3d 388, we hold that where a defendant is convicted of a sex offense that is also a crime of violence he must be sentenced to an indeterminate sentence of incarceration with a minimum term in the enhanced, crime-of-violence range. Thus, the trial court was required to sentence Chavez to a minimum term of between eight and twenty-four years and a maximum term of his life. ...


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