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Fransua v. People

Supreme Court of Colorado, En Banc

November 18, 2019

Michael Alan FRANSUA, Petitioner/Cross-Respondent,
v.
The PEOPLE of the State of Colorado, Respondent/Cross-Petitioner

          Certiorari to the Colorado Court of Appeals, Court of Appeals Case No. 14CA2487

          Attorneys for Petitioner/Cross-Respondent: Megan A. Ring, Public Defender Rachel K. Mercer, Deputy Public Defender Denver, Colorado

          Attorneys for Respondent/Cross-Petitioner: Philip J. Weiser, Attorney General Brock J. Swanson, Assistant Attorney General Denver, Colorado

         OPINION

         HART, JUSTICE.

Page 1209

         [¶1] Criminal defendants often spend time in jail before they are convicted of and sentenced for their crimes. When this happens, defendants are entitled to credit against their sentences for the time that they were confined before sentencing. This case presents three questions related to the calculation of a defendant’s credit for presentence confinement.[1] First, when a defendant who is out of custody on bond in one case commits another offense and is unable to post bond in that second case, is he entitled to presentence confinement credit ("PSCC") in the first case for time spent in custody for the second? To that question, we answer no. Second, is a defendant entitled to PSCC for both the first and last days of his presentence confinement? To that question, we answer yes. The third question-whether a challenge to the amount of PSCC is a claim that the sentence imposed was not authorized by law-we address in the companion case we announce today, People v. Baker, 2019 CO 97M, __ P.3d __. In Baker, we hold that a challenge to the amount of PSCC is not appropriately framed as a Rule 35(a) claim that the sentence was not authorized by law because PSCC is not a component of the sentence. ¶¶ 1, 11, 19. Here, however, the defendant challenged his PSCC award on direct appeal. As a result, we affirm the decision of the court of appeals as to the first two questions.

          I. Facts and Procedural History

         [¶2] Two separate criminal cases give rise to the questions presented in this case. In October 2013, Michael Alan Fransua was arrested after he unlawfully entered his former girlfriend’s house and assaulted her. Fransua was charged with second-degree burglary, third-degree assault, and harassment; two months later, he posted bond and was released from jail. We will refer to this as the "first case." While out on bond, in March 2014, Fransua was arrested after he again entered his former girlfriend’s house and refused to leave. This time, Fransua was charged with first-degree trespass, violation of bail bond conditions, and violation of a protection order. We will refer to this as the "second case."

         [¶3] Although Fransua posted bond in the first case, and therefore was released from jail pending trial in that case, he was unable to post bond in the second case. As a result, Fransua was confined from March 1, 2014 (the date he was arrested in the second case), to June 16, 2014 (the date he was sentenced in the first case). During this 108-day period of confinement, however, Fransua’s bond in the first case was never revoked or modified.

         [¶4] Fransua resolved both cases on June 16, 2014. In exchange for a complete dismissal of the second case, as well as all original charges in the first case, Fransua pleaded guilty to a single count of attempted second-degree burglary in the first case. He was sentenced to a term of five years in community corrections as part of that plea agreement. Three months later, Fransua escaped

Page 1210

from community corrections. Consequently, he was resentenced to a term of five years in the custody of the Department of Corrections.

         [¶5] During Fransua’s resentencing hearing, he requested 245 days of PSCC. The district court, however, awarded him only 162 days. In making this determination, the district court considered four periods of confinement:

1. Forty-one days from October 25, 2013, to December 5, 2013. This was the period from Fransua’s arrest in the first case to the date he was ...

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