Certiorari to the Colorado Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
Court Case No. 14CA1239
Attorneys for Petitioner: Cynthia H. Coffman, Attorney
General John T. Lee, Assistant Attorney General.
Attorneys for Respondent: Albani Law, LLC Peter B. Albani.
Law Offices of M. Colin Bresee M. Colin Bresee.
The People petitioned for review of the court of appeals'
judgment reversing the amended restitution order of the
district court, which substantially increased Belibi's
restitution obligation after his judgment of conviction.
See People v. Belibi, No. 14CA1239 (Colo.App. May
14, 2015). Following the acceptance of Belibi's guilty
plea, the imposition of a sentence to probation, including a
stipulation to $4, 728 restitution, and the entry of
judgment, the district court amended its restitution order to
require the payment of an additional $302, 022 in
restitution. The court of appeals held that in the absence of
anything in the court's written or oral pronouncements
reserving a final determination of the amount of restitution,
the initial restitution order had become final and could not
Because a judgment of conviction, absent a statutorily
authorized order reserving a determination of the final
amount of restitution due, finalizes any specific amount
already set, the sentencing court lacked the power to
increase restitution beyond the previously set amount of $4,
728. The judgment of the court of appeals is therefore
Franck Belibi was charged with a number of felony and
misdemeanor counts following an incident in which he struck
and killed a pedestrian with his car. He ultimately entered
into a plea arrangement, in which he agreed to plead guilty
to one count of attempt to influence a public servant and to
pay $4, 728 to the Victim's Compensation Fund to offset
payments made for the decedent's burial expenses. The
court accepted the defendant's guilty plea and on April
19, 2013, sentenced him to five years of probation, with a
condition of that probation being that he pay $4, 728 in
restitution to the Victim's Compensation Fund. The court
did not enter any other restitution order reserving the
possibility that restitution might later be increased.
Fifty-eight days later, Safeco Insurance Company filed a
claim for restitution, asserting that it was obligated by an
insurance contract to pay the decedent's mother $300, 000
in death benefits and $5, 000 in medical and funeral costs,
and it was therefore entitled to restitution as a victim of
the crime. The district court ruled that Safeco was an
additional victim not known to the court at the time the
restitution order was set, and it increased the amount of
restitution owed by the defendant by $302, 022 to cover
Safeco's losses. The defendant did not object to the
increase at that time, but about five months later he filed a
motion for reconsideration pursuant to C.R.C.P. 60, asserting
that he had only recently received notice of the amended
order. The district court denied his motion on its merits,
and he appealed to the court of appeals.
On appeal, the intermediate appellate court vacated the
amended restitution order and directed the district court to
reenter its initial order for $4, 728, reasoning that the
initial order was final where neither the mittimus finalizing
the defendant's judgment of conviction nor the
court's written or oral pronouncements indicated anything
to the contrary. Because the statute includes a provision to
the effect that the amount of restitution may not be
increased once the final amount of restitution has been set,
it found that the district court was barred from issuing its
amended restitution order.
The People petitioned for a writ of certiorari.
Orders for restitution in criminal prosecutions in this
jurisdiction are governed by statute and rule. See
§§ 18-1.3-601 to -603, C.R.S. (2017); Crim. P. 32.
As we described more fully in Meza v. People, 2018
CO 23, P.3d, also reported today by this court, the current
statutory scheme permits a criminal court, under certain
circumstances, to order a defendant obligated to pay
restitution and yet order that the specific amount of
restitution be set within ninety-one days, or to order the
defendant to pay restitution covering the cost of specific
future treatment of any victim, in addition to or in place of
ordering a specific amount of restitution at sentencing.
See § 18-1.3-603(1)(b), (c); see also
Sanoff v. People, 187 P.3d 576, 577-78 (Colo. 2008)
(describing the pre-2000 requirement to order an amount of
restitution and place it on the mittimus). The current
statutory scheme also permits the criminal court to order an
increase in restitution, but only for victims or losses not
known at the time of sentencing and, even then, only if the
"final amount" of restitution has not yet been set
by the court. § 18-1.3-603(3).
In Meza we construed the term "final
amount" as applied to orders increasing restitution
after judgment of conviction has already entered, finding
that upon the entry of a judgment of conviction, which
finalizes a criminal conviction for purposes of appeal,
without also including one of the orders statutorily
reserving a determination of the final amount of restitution
for a future proceeding, the criminal court loses any
remaining power it may have to order restitution.
Meza, ¶ 16, P.3d at . With regard to the
enumerated "order(s) for restitution" authorized by
section 18-1.3-603(1), the record of the plea and sentencing
hearing in this case reveals only an order for the specific
amount of $4, 728. See § 18-1.3-603(1)(a). In
fact, nothing in the record suggests that the providency
court intended anything other than to accept the
defendant's guilty plea according to the terms of the
plea agreement, which included a stipulation to restitution
in the amount of $4, 728. Nor do the People ...