Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

People v. Carian

Court of Appeals of Colorado, First Division

August 10, 2017

The People of the State of Colorado, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Samuel David Carian, Defendant-Appellant.

         Adams County District Court No. 14CR1022 Honorable Thomas R. Ensor, Judge

          Cynthia H. Coffman, Attorney General, Jillian J. Price, Assistant Attorney General, Denver, Colorado, for Plaintiff-Appellee

          Douglas K. Wilson, Colorado State Public Defender, Rachel K. Mercer, Deputy State Public Defender, Denver, Colorado, for Defendant-Appellant

          OPINION

          TAUBMAN, JUDGE

         ¶ 1 Defendant, Samuel David Carian, appeals his judgment of conviction entered on a jury verdict finding him guilty of one count of forgery and one count of attempting to influence a public servant. We affirm in part and vacate in part.

         I. Background

         ¶ 2 Carian was on probation for possession of a controlled substance, a misdemeanor. He met his probation officer, Tuesday Black, in September 2013. Black informed Carian that he had to complete regular urine drug tests. Black gave him a list of approved facilities. Carian completed some tests, but missed others and also returned tests with positive results.

         ¶ 3 In November 2013, Carian told Black that he wanted to do his urinalysis at a facility called Wiz Quiz. Black told him that it was not an approved facility. Carian met Black in November and December 2013, and he told her he was submitting samples at Wiz Quiz. Black tried to get the test results from Wiz Quiz but was unable to confirm that Carian was a customer there.

         ¶ 4 In December 2013, Black drafted a revocation complaint for Carian's various probation violations. It did not discuss Wiz Quiz or Black's inability to verify Carian's urinalysis test results. When Black served Carian with this complaint, he gave her four documents that he said were copies of his urinalysis results from Wiz Quiz. The documents said that he had had his urine tested at the Wiz Quiz location in Lakewood, Colorado, in November 2013 and that the results were negative for illegal drugs.

         ¶ 5 Black tried to contact Wiz Quiz to verify Carian's urinalysis test results but could not reach anyone at the website or the phone number listed on the documents he submitted to her. Eventually, she found the contact information for Julie Calvert, the manager of the Wiz Quiz in Lakewood. Calvert said Carian's documents did not match her company's forms. She also said the contact information was incorrect and she had no record of Carian being a Wiz Quiz customer.

         ¶ 6 Carian was then charged with forgery under section 18-5-102(1)(d), C.R.S. 2016, and attempting to influence a public servant under section 18-8-306, C.R.S. 2016, because he allegedly gave Black fraudulent test results.

         II. Sufficiency of the Evidence

         ¶ 7 Carian contends that the evidence was insufficient to convict him of forgery under section 18-5-102(1)(d) because the urinalysis test results at issue that he handed to his probation officer were not a "public record" or "an instrument filed or required by law to be filed or legally fileable in or with a public office or public servant." While we conclude that the urinalysis test results from Wiz Quiz were "instrument[s]" within the reach of the statute, we also conclude that they were not filed, required by law to be filed, or legally fileable as provided in section 18-5-102(1)(d), and therefore the evidence does not support his forgery conviction.

         A. Standard of Review

         ¶ 8 We review the record de novo to determine whether the evidence was sufficient to support a conviction. People v. Roggow, 2013 CO 70, ¶ 13, 318 P.3d 446, 450. To the extent that the resolution of this issue requires interpretation of the forgery statute, we conduct that review de novo. Chavez v. People, 2015 CO 62, ¶ 7, 359 P.3d 1040, 1042.

         ¶ 9 When a defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence, we must determine "whether any rational trier of fact might accept the evidence, taken as a whole and in the light most favorable to the prosecution, as sufficient to support a finding of the accused's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt." People v. Sprouse, 983 P.2d 771, 777 (Colo. 1999).

         B. Applicable Law

         ¶ 10 "The Due Process Clauses of the Colorado and United States Constitutions require the prosecution to prove the existence of every element of a charged offense beyond a reasonable doubt." People v. Espinoza, 195 P.3d 1122, 1127-28 (Colo.App. 2008); see U.S. Const. amends. V, VI, XIV; Colo. Const. art. II, §§ 16, 23, 25; In re Winship, 397 U.S. 358, 363-64 (1970). "[A] modicum of relevant evidence will not rationally support a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt, " and a verdict cannot be based on "guessing, speculation, or conjecture." Sprouse, 983 P.2d at 778. If reasonable jurors must necessarily have a reasonable doubt about a defendant's guilt, the trial court must direct an acquittal. People v. Bennett, 183 Colo. 125, 132-33, 515 P.2d 466, 470 (1973).

         ¶ 11 A person commits forgery if with intent to defraud, such person falsely makes, completes, alters or utters a written instrument which is or purports to be, or which is calculated to become or to represent if completed:

[a] public record or an instrument filed or required by law to be filed or legally fileable in or with a public office or public servant.

§ 18-5-102(1)(d). "As a matter of law, the crime of forgery is complete when the act and guilty knowledge coincide with the intent to defraud." People v. Cunefare, 102 P.3d 302, 307 n.4 (Colo. 2004). The intent to defraud may be inferred "where the defendant passed an instrument he knows to be false." Id. As relevant here, a "[w]ritten instrument" is defined as "any paper, document, or other instrument containing written or printed matter or the equivalent thereof, used for purposes of reciting, embodying, conveying, or recording information[.]" § 18-5-101(9), C.R.S. 2016.[1] "Utter" means "to transfer, pass, or deliver, or attempt or cause to be transferred, passed, or delivered, to another person any instrument." § 18-5-101(8).

         C. Analysis

         ¶ 12 The elements of the crime of forgery under section 18-5-102(1)(d) are: (1) that a person; (2) with intent to defraud; (3) falsely made, completed, or uttered a written instrument; (4) which was, or which purported to be, or which was calculated to become, or to represent if completed; (5) a public record or an instrument filed, or required by law to be filed, or legally fileable in or with a public office or public servant. In this appeal, we must first consider whether the urinalysis reports Carian gave to Black are "instrument[s], " or "public record[s]" within the ambit of section 18-5-102(1)(d) and, if so, whether they were "calculated to become or to represent if completed . . . [a] public record or an instrument filed or required by law to be filed or legally fileable in or with a public office or public servant." § 18-5-102(1)(d).

         ¶ 13 When we interpret a statute, our primary goal is to ascertain and give effect to the intent of the General Assembly. Dubois v. People, 211 P.3d 41, 43 (Colo. 2009). The statute must be read as a whole, giving words and phrases their plain and ordinary meanings, and the statute must be interpreted to give consistent, harmonious, and sensible effect to all of its parts. People v. Summers, 208 P.3d 251, 254 (Colo. 2009).

         ¶ 14 If the plain language of the statute is clear and unambiguous, we apply the statute as written, unless it leads to an absurd result. Kauntz v. HCA-Healthone, LLC, 174 P.3d 813, 816 (Colo.App. 2007); see also People v. Kovacs, 2012 COA 111, ¶ 11, 284 P.3d 186, 188. Additionally, no interpretation should render any part of the statute superfluous. See Kisselman v. Am. Family Mut. Ins. Co., 292 P.3d 964, 969 (Colo.App. 2011). "A strained or forced construction of a statutory term is to be avoided, and we must look to the context of a statutory term." Fogg v. Macaluso, 892 P.2d 271, 274 (Colo. 1995) (citation omitted).

         ¶ 15 We presume that the General Assembly intends a just and reasonable result when it enacts a statute, and a statutory construction that defeats the legislative intent will not be followed. Kauntz, 174 P.3d at 816. If, however, the statutory language lends itself to alternative constructions and its intended scope is unclear, a court may apply other rules of statutory construction to determine which alternative construction is in accordance with the objective sought to be achieved by the legislation. Id.

         ¶ 16 A word may be defined by an accompanying word and, ordinarily, the coupling of words denotes an intention that they should be understood in the same general sense. See 2A Norman Singer & Shambie Singer, Sutherland Statutory Construction § 47:16, Westlaw (7th ed. database updated Nov. 2016). However, the use of the disjunctive "or, " according to the supreme court, can also connote alternate ways of committing the same crime. See People v. Barry, 2015 COA 4, ¶ 96, 349 P.3d 1139, 1157 ("[W]hen the legislature joins a number of acts disjunctively in a single provision of the criminal code, courts have found that 'the legislature intended to describe alternate ways of committing a single crime rather than to create separate offenses.'" (quoting People v. Abiodun, 111 P.3d 462, 465 (Colo. 2005))).

         1. "Instrument"

         ¶ 17 Under the plain language of the statute, a person commits forgery if, with the intent to defraud, he or she makes, completes, or utters "a written instrument which is or purports to be, or which is calculated to become or to represent if completed . . . [a] public record or an instrument filed or required by law to be filed or legally fileable in or with a public office or public servant." § 18-5-102(1)(d) (emphasis added). "[W]hen the word 'or' is used in a statute, it is presumed to be used in the disjunctive sense, unless legislative intent is clearly to the contrary." Armintrout v. People, 864 P.2d 576, 581 (Colo. 1993). Thus, while Carian argues that the evidence is insufficient to charge ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.