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People v. Blackwell

Court of Appeals of Colorado, Sixth Division

September 22, 2016

The People of the State of Colorado, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Aaron Michael Blackwell, Defendant-Appellant.

         El Paso County District Court No. 09CR4453 Honorable William B. Bain, Judge

          Cynthia H. Coffman, Attorney General, Lisa K. Michaels, Assistant Attorney General, Denver, Colorado, for Plaintiff-Appellee

          Kimberly Penix, Alternate Defense Counsel, Denver, Colorado, for Defendant-Appellant

          OPINION

          FURMAN JUDGE

         ¶ 1 Aaron Michael Blackwell appeals the district court's order revoking his deferred judgment for theft from an at-risk victim after he pleaded guilty to driving after revocation prohibited (DARP) in a later, unrelated deferred judgment agreement. Blackwell contends that his plea in the DARP case is not sufficient to prove that he violated a state criminal law - a condition of his deferred judgment in this case. Because we conclude that Blackwell's later plea to DARP - a state criminal offense - constitutes a conviction within the meaning of the revocation hearing statute, § 16-11-206(3), C.R.S. 2016, we affirm the district court's order.

         I. The Deferred Judgment

         ¶ 2 Blackwell pleaded guilty to theft from an at-risk victim, and the district court deferred the judgment against him with the condition that he "violate no federal, state, or local criminal law."

         ¶ 3 In a later case, Blackwell pleaded guilty to DARP, a class one misdemeanor. The district court also deferred the judgment against Blackwell in the DARP case.

         ¶ 4 The prosecution then filed a motion to revoke Blackwell's deferred judgment in the theft case based on Blackwell being convicted of DARP.

         ¶ 5 After a revocation hearing, the district court found that Blackwell's guilty plea in the DARP case showed that he had committed DARP in violation of the terms of his deferred judgment in the theft case. The court subsequently revoked Blackwell's deferred judgment.

         II. Applicable Law and Standard of Review

         ¶ 6 The revocation hearing statute provides that the prosecution normally has the burden to establish by a preponderance of evidence that a defendant violated a condition of a deferred judgment. See § 16-11-206(3). But, if the violation of the deferred judgment is a criminal offense, the violation "must be established beyond a reasonable doubt unless the [defendant] has been convicted thereof in a criminal proceeding." Id.

         ¶ 7 We must determine whether a defendant who pleads guilty to a state criminal offense in the course of entering into a later deferred judgment agreement has been "convicted" within the meaning of the revocation hearing statute. To make this determination, we are guided by common rules of statutory interpretation.

         ¶ 8 When interpreting a statute, our primary task is to determine and give effect to the intent of the legislature. Esquibel v. Bd. of Educ. Centennial Sch. Dist. R-1, 2016 COA 9, ¶ 7 (citing McKinley v. City of Glenwood Springs, 2015 COA 126, ¶ 5). To discern legislative intent, we look first to the statutory language, giving words and phrases their plain and ordinary meanings. Id. And, in construing the word "conviction, " the key factor to be considered is the legislative intent behind the use of the word in the statute involved. Hafelfi ...


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