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. Loris

Court of Appeals of Colorado, Fifth Division

July 26, 2018

The People of the State of Colorado, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Colleen Marie Loris, Defendant-Appellant.

          Gilpin County District Court No. 14CR59 Honorable Philip J. McNulty, Judge.

          Cynthia H. Coffman, Attorney General, William G. Kozeliski, Assistant Attorney General, Denver, Colorado, for Plaintiff-Appellee.

          Douglas K. Wilson, Colorado State Public Defender, Ned R. Jaeckle, Deputy State Public Defender, Denver, Colorado, for Defendant-Appellant.

          OPINION

          ROMÁN JUDGE.

         ¶ 1 Defendant, Colleen Marie Loris, appeals her thirty-two-year sentence under the habitual criminal statute. We first conclude that her thirty-two-year sentence for possession with intent to distribute does not raise an inference of gross disproportionality.

         ¶ 2 We further conclude that the district court was required to apply the habitual criminal sentence multiplier to defendant's level 2 drug felony. Analyzing the sentencing scheme as a whole, the legislature has evinced an unmistakable intent to multiply the maximum of the presumptive range for certain drug felonies by four times in cases where the defendant has three or more prior felonies.

         ¶ 3 We affirm the sentence.

         I. Background

         ¶ 4 In July 2014, defendant sold methamphetamine to three individuals. As part of the deal, she agreed to accept a handgun for the drugs. The parties gathered in a hotel room, where the sale took place. Defendant had approximately two ounces of methamphetamine with her. After the parties had been drinking and smoking methamphetamine, defendant handled the gun and it went off. The bullet struck the victim in the head, killing him.

         ¶ 5 The People charged defendant with second degree murder, possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, possession of a weapon by a previous offender, and four habitual criminal counts.

         ¶ 6 Defendant pled guilty to possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, manslaughter, and four habitual criminal counts. The four habitual criminal counts were based on prior state convictions for possession of a controlled substance (a class 4 felony), forgery (a class 5 felony), and possession of methamphetamine (a class 6 felony), as well as a prior federal conviction for conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.

         ¶ 7 Applying the habitual criminal sentence multiplier, the district court sentenced defendant to concurrent sentences of thirty-two years for possession with intent to distribute and twenty-four years for manslaughter.

         ¶ 8 Defendant appeals her sentence, arguing for the first time that it is grossly disproportionate in violation of the Eighth Amendment and that the district court lacked authority to sentence her under the habitual criminal statute.

         II. Proportionality Review

         ¶ 9 Defendant contends that her thirty-two-year sentence raises an inference of gross disproportionality and therefore requires a remand for an extended proportionality review. We disagree.

         A. Legal Standards

         ¶ 10 The Eighth Amendment prohibits grossly disproportionate sentences. People v. Deroulet, 48 P.3d 520, 524 (Colo. 2002). To ensure sentences are not disproportionate, a criminal defendant is "entitled, upon request, to a proportionality review of his sentence under Colorado's habitual criminal statute." Id. at 522. "[A]n appellate court is as well positioned as a trial court to conduct a proportionality review [in cases where] . . . a refined analysis requiring inquiry into specific facts not available on the appellate record [is] unnecessary." People v. Hargrove, 2013 COA 165, ¶ 15 (quoting People v. Gaskins, 825 P.2d 30, 38 (Colo. 1992)).

         ¶ 11 When a defendant challenges a sentence as grossly disproportionate, the reviewing court must initially conduct an abbreviated proportionality review. See Close v. People, 48 P.3d 528, 532 (Colo. 2002). This review weighs "the gravity or seriousness of the triggering crime together with the gravity or seriousness of the underlying crimes" against "the harshness of the penalty." Deroulet, 48 P.3d at 525, 527. Specifically, the court must scrutinize whether, in combination, the offenses are so lacking in gravity or seriousness as to suggest the sentence is grossly disproportionate. Id. at 524-25.

         ¶ 12 For purposes of an abbreviated proportionality review, certain crimes are considered per se grave or serious, while others may be grave or serious depending on their particular facts and circumstances. Hargrove, ¶ 12. For offenses that are not per se grave or serious, we "compare the offenses in light of the harm caused or threatened to the victim or society." People v. Mershon, 874 P.2d 1025, 1032 (Colo. 1994). Relevant factors include the "magnitude of the offense, whether the offense involved violence, whether the offense is a lesser included offense or an attempted offense, and the defendant's motive." People v. Oldright, 2017 COA 91, ¶ 11.

         ¶ 13 As part of an abbreviated proportionality review, a court should also consider the General Assembly's current evaluation of the seriousness of the offense at issue, including any relevant amendments to criminal sentencing statutes. Id.; see People v. ...


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.