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Sandoval v. Raemisch

United States District Court, D. Colorado

April 10, 2017

WILLIAM FRANK SANDOVAL, Petitioner,
v.
RICK RAEMISCH, Executive Director, Colorado Department of Corrections, MICHAEL MILLER, Warden, Crowley County Correctional Facility, and CYNTHIA H. COFFMAN, Attorney General, State of Colorado, Respondents.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          RICHARD P. MATSCH SENIOR DISTRICT JUDGE.

         After a jury verdict finding William Frank Sandoval guilty of enticement of a child he was sentenced to an indeterminate term of four years to life in the Colorado Department of Corrections (CDOC) pursuant to Colorado's Sex Offender Lifetime Supervision Act of 1998, C.R.S. § 18-1.3-1001, et seq. (SOLSA). The term of his confinement is determined by the parole board. It may not release a sex offender to parole unless, after a hearing, it determines that the sex offender has successfully progressed in treatment and would not pose an undue threat to the community under appropriate treatment and monitoring requirements and that there is a strong and reasonable probability that he will not violate the law.[1]

         The Sex Offender Management Board requires that the offender must admit guilt of the convicted offense as a condition to receiving treatment and the CDOC has the same requirement for participation in its Sex Offender Treatment and Monitoring Program.

         Sandoval maintains his innocence and has refused to admit to the conduct for which he was convicted. As a result he has been denied admission to the treatment program and denied release to the four year term of parole in his sentence.

         Sandoval's conviction was affirmed on direct appeal in 2007. The Colorado Court of Appeals has twice rejected his efforts to obtain relief under Colorado Crim. P. 35(c).

         In this Application for Writ of Habeas Corpus Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, Sandoval has claimed ineffective assistance of his trial counsel in violation of the protection afforded by the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

         Under Colorado law, impeachment of a defendant's testimony by proof of a prior felony conviction is limited to the “name, nature and date” of the conviction. During the trial the court held a hearing to advise Sandoval of his right to decide for himself whether he wanted to testify and the possible risks involved in that decision. When the court asked about prior felony convictions, the prosecuting attorney said there was a felony conviction for vehicular assault and said, “my understanding is the only information that would be elicited would be the nature of the charge, what he pled to, and the ultimate sentence.” The court responded, “[a]ll right, whatever the sentence is.” The defendant's lawyer made no objection to or seek clarification of what the prosecutor intended or what the court would allow as impeachment.

         During direct examination of Sandoval the following colloquy occurred:

Q. Mr. Sandoval, before we go any further, I want to ask you a few questions, actually, about your past history.
A. Yes.
Q. Mr. Sandoval, you have a - you have a prior felony conviction; is that true?
A. Yes, I do.
Q. And can you tell the jury what that felony conviction is for?
A. It was started out as a vehicular homicide and I plea bargained down to ...

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