County District Court No. 04CR2139 Honorable Larry C.
Cynthia H. Coffman, Attorney General, Lisa K. Michaels,
Assistant Attorney General, Denver, Colorado, for
A. Chavez, Pro Se
1 This case requires us to decide if a criminal court retains
subject matter jurisdiction over a defendant's motion,
filed years after sentence was imposed, for return of
property seized in his criminal case.
2 The criminal court denied defendant's, Loren A.
Chavez's, motion for return of property on the merits and
Chavez appeals. We hold that the criminal court lacked
subject matter jurisdiction to decide Chavez's motion.
Accordingly, we vacate the court's order.
Relevant Facts and Procedural History
3 In 2004, the police obtained a warrant to search
Chavez's house as part of an investigation of an alleged
sexual assault. During that search, police seized evidence
that they then used to charge Chavez in five separate
criminal cases, none of which underlie this appeal.
4 In the case underlying this appeal, Chavez was charged with
sexual assault (victim helpless) and second degree
kidnapping. None of the evidence seized during the search of
his house was admitted at his trial for sexual assault and
5 A jury convicted Chavez of both offenses. He appealed, and
a division of this court affirmed. People v. Chavez,
(Colo. No. 07CA0954, July 2, 2009) (not published pursuant to
6 Chavez then attacked his convictions under Crim. P. 35(c),
claiming that the trial court gave him a defective
Curtis advisement and thus his waiver of his right
to testify was not knowingly and voluntarily made. The
postconviction court granted relief and vacated Chavez's
7 Instead of standing for retrial, in November 2013 Chavez
pleaded guilty to both sexual assault and kidnapping and was
again sentenced for those crimes.
8 Three years later, Chavez moved the criminal court for the
return of the items seized during the search of his
house. He requested the return of, among other
things, computers, CDs, and VHS tapes, claiming that they
contained family photographs and other personal items. The
prosecution objected, contending that the items requested
fell "within the nature of [Chavez's]
conviction" and possibly included information regarding
the victim in the underlying case, ...