Richard S. JONES, Petitioner-Appellant,
Dean WILLIAMS, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Corrections, Respondent-Appellee.
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
Appeal from the District Court, Fremont County
District Court Case No. 18CV35, Honorable Robert Freeman,
Richard S. Jones, pro se, Olney Springs, Colorado
for Respondent-Appellee: Philip J. Weiser, Attorney General,
Alison Faryl Kyles, Assistant Solicitor General, Denver,
The Habeas Corpus Act requires that a habeas petition
"be accompanied by a copy of the warrant of
commitment." § 13-45-101(1), C.R.S. (2018). In this
habeas corpus appeal, we consider whether a district court
may summarily dismiss a petition for lack of jurisdiction
when the petition includes the petitioners mittimus for his
latest conviction but does not include the mittimuses for two
earlier convictions, which he asserts are relevant to his
habeas claim. To resolve this issue, we review the
constitutional and statutory authority authorizing habeas
corpus and our prior caselaw discussing the warrant
requirement. We conclude that noncompliance with the warrant
requirement does not deprive courts of jurisdiction over
habeas corpus petitions. We overrule our prior cases holding
that failing to provide a copy of the warrant of commitment
is a jurisdictional defect, deprives the court of authority
to act on a habeas petition, and requires summary dismissal.
Accordingly, we reverse the district courts order dismissing
the habeas petition for lack of jurisdiction and remand to
the district court for further consideration.
I. Facts and Procedural History
Richard S. Jones filed a habeas corpus petition in the
district court challenging the Department of Corrections
("DOC") calculation of his parole eligibility date
("PED"). Jones asserted that the DOC used only his
latest 2008 conviction to calculate his PED, but, to
correctly calculate his PED, he believed that the DOCs
calculation should include two earlier convictions from 1991.
If his PED was calculated utilizing the 1991 convictions,
Jones argued that he had passed his PED and was being
unlawfully denied consideration for parole. His habeas
petition included the mittimus for the 2008 conviction but
did not include the mittimuses for the two 1991 convictions.
In response to Joness petition, the DOC moved to dismiss for
lack of jurisdiction. The DOC characterized Joness failure
to include all three of his mittimuses as a
"jurisdictional failure which requires dismissal."
The district court granted the DOCs motion and dismissed the
Jones appealed the district courts order to this court.
See Colo. Const. art. VI, § 2 (outlining appellate
jurisdiction of the supreme court); § 13-4-102(1)(e), C.R.S.
(2018) (excluding habeas corpus appeals from the jurisdiction
of the court of appeals); see also Nowak v.
Suthers, 2014 CO 14, ¶ 11, 320 P.3d 340, 343.
Jones is representing himself. In his appellate briefs, he
reasserts the merits of the claims he outlined in his habeas
corpus petition. Pleadings by pro se litigants must be
broadly construed to ensure that they are not denied review
of important issues because of their inability to articulate
their argument like a lawyer. See People v.
Bergerud, 223 P.3d 686, 696-97 (Colo. 2010). Broadly
construed, Jones argues that he was entitled to a ruling on
the merits, and the district court should not have dismissed
Relying on this courts precedent, the DOC contends that the
district court properly dismissed the petition because the