Certiorari to the Colorado Court of Appeals, Court of Appeals
Case No. 13CA1629
for Petitioner: Megan A. Ring, Public Defender, Jessica
Sommer, Deputy Public Defender, Denver, Colorado
for Respondent: Philip J. Weiser, Attorney General, Matthew
S. Holman, First Assistant Attorney General, Denver, Colorado
This case requires us to interpret section 18-1.3-102(1),
C.R.S. (2019), as it read between 2002 and
2012. That statute authorizes
trial courts to place a defendant on a deferred judgment and
sentence ("deferred judgment") by
"continu[ing] [his] case ... for a period not to exceed
four years" for the purpose of entering the judgment and
sentence upon his guilty plea, "except that such period
may be extended for an additional time up to one hundred
eighty days" if the payment of restitution is the only
condition of supervision not yet fulfilled.
The parties agree that when a defendant is placed on a
deferred judgment for four years, the statutory maximum, the
trial court may extend the deferral period for up to 180 days
if the requirement to pay restitution is the sole condition
of supervision that has not been satisfied. But what if the
original period of the deferred judgment is shorter than four
years? In that situation, does the statute permit the trial
court to extend the deferred judgment for any reason, so long
as the aggregate period of deferral does not exceed four
years? The prosecution answers yes. Derrick Lee Carrera
answers no and argues that the trial court is always limited
when extending the original deferred judgment period—
it may do so only one time, for up to 180 days, and only if
the payment of restitution is the sole condition of
supervision that remains unsatisfied.
In a fractured opinion, a division of the court of appeals
determined that the language of section 18-1.3-102(1) is
ambiguous because the parties diametrically opposed
constructions are both reasonable. People v.
Carrera, No. 13CA1629, slip. op. at 7 (Nov. 10, 2016).
It then concluded that "other interpretive aids must be
consulted" and that "those interpretive aids refute
[Carreras] reading of the statute and support the
[prosecutions] interpretation." Id.
There is no need for us "to gild refined gold, to paint
the lily," William Shakespeare, King John act
4, sc. 2, line 11, because the division resolved the parties
dispute in a thoughtful and well-reasoned opinion. Thus, we
affirm based on the same rationale.
We hold that section 18-1.3-102(1) does not prohibit a trial
court, in the exercise of its discretion, from extending a
defendants deferred judgment for any legitimate reason and
as many times as it deems appropriate, so long as the
aggregate period of the deferral does not exceed four years.
We further hold that when a defendant has been on a deferred
judgment for four years, the statute empowers the trial
court, in the exercise of its discretion, to extend the
deferred judgment for a period not to exceed 180 days, so
long as the payment of restitution is the only condition of
supervision not yet fulfilled.
I. Facts and Procedural History
Carrera pled guilty to possession of one gram or less of a
schedule I controlled substance, a class 6 felony, in August
2010. Consistent with the parties plea agreement, in October
2010, the district court placed Carrera on a two-year
deferred judgment and required the probation department to
supervise him. The court imposed certain conditions of
supervision, including the payment of $1,183.50 in fees and
costs. No restitution was requested or
In September 2012, Carrera and his case manager filed a joint
motion requesting that the deferred judgment be extended for
six months, from October 4, 2012, when it was scheduled to
expire, until April 4, 2013. The motion explained that the
extension was necessary "[t]o allow [Carrera] more time
in which to complete his Court-ordered obligations." It
then specified that Carrera still owed some of the fees and
costs imposed. The prosecution did not file an objection, and
the district court granted the motion and extended the
deferred judgment until April 4, 2013.
On April 2, 2013, Carreras case manager submitted a
complaint to revoke the deferred judgment, alleging that
Carrera had failed to pay $938.50 of the fees and costs and
to complete outpatient treatment. Following an evidentiary
hearing, the district court found that the prosecution had
proven both of the alleged violations. It thus revoked
Carreras deferred judgment, entered a judgment of
conviction, and sentenced him to unsupervised probation for a
period of one year. Carrera appealed.
Before the court of appeals, Carrera raised several claims.
As relevant here, he argued that the district court lacked
authority to extend his deferred judgment in 2012 for a
condition unrelated to the payment of restitution and,
therefore, it had no jurisdiction to revoke his deferred
judgment in 2013. According to Carrera, the district court
had authority to extend his two-year deferred judgment only
once and only if the failure to pay restitution was the sole
condition of supervision not yet fulfilled. Since the trial
court extended the deferred judgment in October 2012 based on
his failure to pay the fees and costs in full, Carrera
asserted that ...