County District Court No. 12CR83 Honorable Victor I. Reyes,
Cynthia H. Coffman, Attorney General, Jacob R. Lofgren,
Assistant Attorney General, Denver, Colorado, for
Douglas K. Wilson, Colorado State Public Defender, Meghan M.
Morris, Deputy State Public Defender, Denver, Colorado, for
LICHTENSTEIN J. JUDGE
1 Defendant, Tony James Reyes, asks us to decide whether a
district court can set a resentencing hearing sua sponte and
impose an increased sentence after an offender is terminated
from a community corrections program. Because we conclude
that it can, we affirm his sentence.
2 Reyes was charged with second degree burglary, a class 3
felony, and misdemeanor theft. Pursuant to his plea
agreement, he pleaded guilty to the theft count and received
a two-year deferred sentence for second degree burglary. The
district court imposed a two-year probationary sentence, with
a suspended jail term.
3 Near the end of those two years, his probation officer
filed a revocation complaint. In a new plea agreement, Reyes
admitted to violating the terms of his probation and agreed
to a sentence with a cap of eight years in the custody of the
Department of Corrections. The district court resentenced him
to four years in community corrections.
4 Reyes was subsequently terminated from the community
corrections program for violating its policies. Reyes
appeared before a different judge for resentencing. The judge
questioned whether the original four-year community
corrections sentence imposed by the previous judge was
sufficient, and noted that, by statute, the court could set a
resentencing hearing if it wanted to impose a higher sentence
to the custody of the Department of Corrections.
5 Defense counsel objected, asserting that the court was not
statutorily authorized to set a hearing sua sponte, and also
argued that the court was treating his client differently
from "hundreds of other defendants." The court
disagreed, and after holding a resentencing hearing it
imposed a five-year sentence in the custody of the Department
6 Reyes raises four contentions on appeal. First, he argues
that the court lacked statutory authority under the community
corrections statute to set a resentencing hearing sua sponte.
Second, he contends that the court violated separation of
powers principles when it set the hearing despite the fact
that the prosecution never requested one. Third, he asserts
that the court violated his right to equal protection when it
singled him out for a sua sponte resentencing hearing just
because it disagreed with the previous judge's sentence.
Finally, he claims the court abused its discretion when it
set a resentencing hearing for that same reason. We discuss
and reject each contention in turn.
Court's Statutory Authority to Set Resentencing Hearing
7 Reyes contends that the court lacked the statutory
authority to set a resentencing hearing without a request
from one of the parties. We disagree with Reyes's
contention because the statutes governing the resentencing of
an offender after a termination from community corrections do
not condition the court's authority to set a hearing on a
request from one of the parties, and we will not read such a
requirement into them.
Standard of Review and Relevant Law
8 Statutory interpretation is a question of law that we
review de novo. Romero v. People, 179 P.3d 984, 986
(Colo. 2007). Our main goal when interpreting any statute is
to give effect to the General Assembly's intent.
Id. To do so, we start by looking at the
statute's plain language. Id. "When a
statute is part of a complex of sentencing prescriptions, the
entire scheme should be construed to give consistent,
harmonious, and sensible effect to all its parts."
People in Interest of J.S.R., 2014 COA 98, ¶ 13
(quoting A.S. v. People, 2013 CO 63, ¶ 11).
9 Section 18-1.3-301, C.R.S. 2015, governs the district
court's authority over community corrections sentences.
Subsection (1)(e) addresses the court's authority to
resentence an offender who has been terminated from a
community corrections program. It provides that, if an
offender is rejected from a community corrections program
after he or she was initially accepted, "the court may
resentence the offender without any further hearing so long
as the offender's sentence does not exceed the sentence
which was originally imposed upon the offender." §
10 In Romero, our supreme court was asked to resolve
whether this language authorized a court to increase an
offender's sentence if it held a resentencing hearing, or
whether the language simply authorized a court to convert a
community corrections sentence to an equivalent (or shorter)
Department of Corrections sentence without having to hold a
hearing. The Romero court construed the plain
language of subsection (1)(e) to mean that the district court
can increase an offender's sentence so long as it holds a
resentencing hearing. Romero, 179 P.3d at 986-87. It
found support for this construction in another subsection of
the community corrections statute, section
18-1.3-301(1)(h)(I), which gives the sentencing court
authority "to modify" a community corrections
sentence "in the same manner as if the offender had been
placed on probation." The court determined that it
"must look to what sentence [a defendant] could have
been given had he violated a condition of probation rather
than a condition of his community corrections sentence."
Romero, 179 P.3d at 987. In this inquiry, the
supreme court concluded that it must apply section
16-11-206(5), C.R.S. 2015, of the probation revocation
statute, because that subsection governs the resentencing of
an offender who has violated a condition of probation.
Id. And, under section 16-11-206(5), a court may
impose any sentence "which might originally have been
imposed or granted."
11 Reyes does not dispute that Romero permits a
court to increase a sentence after holding a
hearing, but contends that the court can hold a
resentencing hearing only if the prosecutor or defendant
requests it. He reasons that because subsection (1)(h) of the
community corrections statute allows the court "to
modify" a community corrections sentence in the same
manner as a probation sentence, we ought to look to the
probation modification statute, section
18-1.3-204(4)(a), C.R.S. 2015, which, he ...