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Espino-Paez v. People

Court of Appeals of Colorado

June 5, 2017

Jose Sabino Espino-Paez, Petitioner
v.
The People of the State of Colorado, Respondent

         Certiorari to the Colorado Court of Appeals Court of Appeals Case No. 12CA2635

          Attorneys for Petitioner: The Noble Law Firm, LLC Antony Noble Lakewood, Colorado Meyer Law Office, P.C. Hans Meyer Denver, Colorado

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

          Attorneys for Amicus Curiae American Immigration Lawyers Association Colorado Chapter: Lichter Immigration Mark R. Barr Denver, Colorado Access Immigration, LLC Katharine S. Speer Denver, Colorado

          Attorneys for Amicus Curiae Colorado Criminal Defense Bar: Joseph Law Firm, P.C. Aaron C. Hall Aurora, Colorado

          Attorney for Amici Curiae Colorado Legal Academics and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild: Christopher N. Lasch Denver, Colorado

         EN BANC

          OPINION

          EID JUSTICE.

          ¶1 Petitioner Jose Espino-Paez pled guilty to the use of a schedule II controlled substance in 1996 and received a deferred judgment. When he successfully completed the terms of his deferred judgment, his guilty plea was withdrawn and the charge was dismissed with prejudice.

         ¶2 In 2012, Espino-Paez filed a petition for postconviction relief pursuant to Crim. P. 35(c) and in the alternative to withdraw his guilty plea pursuant to Crim. P. 32(d). The district court denied that motion, and the court of appeals affirmed, holding that the district court had no authority to withdraw the plea because it had already been withdrawn. People v. Espino-Paez, 2014 COA 126M, ¶ 13, __P.3d__, __ .

         ¶3 We granted Espino-Paez's petition for certiorari and now affirm. For the reasons more fully articulated in People v. Corrales-Castro, 2017 CO 60, P.3d, the lead case we decide today, [1] we conclude that the plain language of Crim. P. 32(d) requires that a "plea" exist in order for it to be "withdraw[n]." Therefore, there is nothing in the Rule that would authorize a district court to withdraw an already-withdrawn plea. Because Espino-Paez's plea had already been withdrawn and the case dismissed with prejudice pursuant to section 18-1.3-102(2), C.R.S. (2016), there was no plea to be withdrawn pursuant to Rule 32(d). Accordingly, we affirm the court of appeals.

          I.

         ¶4 Espino-Paez pled guilty to the use of a schedule II controlled substance in 1996. He received a deferred judgment on the condition that he successfully complete drug and alcohol treatment. He successfully completed the treatment, and in October 1997 the district court ordered his guilty plea withdrawn and dismissed the charge with prejudice.

         ¶5 In October 2012, Espino-Paez filed a petition for postconviction relief pursuant to Crim. P. 35(c) and, in the alternative, a motion to withdraw his guilty plea under ...


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