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People v. Adams

Supreme Court of Colorado, En Banc

November 21, 2016

The People of the State of Colorado, Petitioner
v.
Curtis Gordon Adams. Respondent 2016 CO 74

         Certiorari to the Colorado Court of Appeals Court of Appeals Case No. 10CA2454

         Judgment Reversed

          Attorneys for Petitioner: Cynthia H. Coffman, Attorney General William G. Kozeliski, Assistant Attorney General Denver, Colorado

          Attorneys for Respondent: Douglas K. Wilson, Public Defender Cory D. Riddle, Deputy Public Defender Denver, Colorado

          OPINION

          HOOD, JUSTICE

         ¶1 A jury found respondent, Curtis Adams, guilty of assaulting a correctional officer. The presumptive sentencing range for that offense is two to six years, but because Adams committed the assault while serving a sentence for a prior felony conviction, the trial court imposed an aggravated sentence-twelve years in the Department of Corrections to be served consecutively to Adams's remaining sentences.

         ¶2 This case arises at the intersection of two sources of sentence enhancement. One requires an aggravated term-of-years range; the other requires consecutive sentencing. The court of appeals concluded Adams was not subject to the term-of-years enhancement applied by the trial court. The People now urge us to reverse the court of appeals; they contend the trial court was required to apply both enhancements.

         ¶3 Based on the plain language of the statutes, we conclude both enhancements apply. Because the two provisions do not conflict, we give effect to both. Therefore, we reverse the portion of the judgment of the court of appeals vacating the defendant's sentence.

         I. Facts and Procedural History

         ¶4 While serving a sentence in Colorado State Penitentiary for a prior felony conviction, Adams kicked and head-butted a correctional officer. As a result of that altercation, the People charged Adams with second degree assault.

         ¶5 The statute defining that offense provides in relevant part:

(1) A person commits the crime of assault in the second degree if: . . .
(f) . . . while lawfully confined or in custody as a result of being charged with or convicted of a crime . . . he or she knowingly and violently applies physical force against a person engaged in the performance of his or her duties while employed by or under contract with a detention facility . . . and the person committing the offense knows or reasonably should know that the victim is . . . a person engaged in the performance of his or her duties while employed by or under contract with a detention facility . . . .

§ 18-3-203(1)(f), C.R.S. (2016). Paragraph (f) further provides that a sentence imposed for this form of second degree assault "shall be served in the department of corrections and shall run consecutively with any sentences being served by the offender." Id. As a class four felony, the presumptive sentencing range for second degree assault is two to ...


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