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People v. Baker

Supreme Court of Colorado, En Banc

November 18, 2019

The PEOPLE of the State of Colorado, Petitioner,
v.
Douglas L. BAKER, Respondent

          As Modified on Denial of Rehearing December 9, 2019

Page 760

          Certiorari to the Colorado Court of Appeals, Court of Appeals Case No. 16CA704

          Attorneys for Petitioner: Philip J. Weiser, Attorney General William G. Kozeliski, Senior Assistant Attorney General Denver, Colorado

          Attorneys for Respondent: Haddon, Morgan and Foreman, P.C. Adam Mueller Denver, Colorado

         OPINION

         HART, JUSTICE.

         [¶1] We are asked to decide whether a defendant’s claim that he is entitled to more presentence confinement credit ("PSCC") than he originally received is properly understood as a challenge to a sentence "not authorized by law" under Crim. P. 35(a).[1] We conclude that it is not. PSCC is not a component of a sentence; instead, it is time served before a sentence is imposed, which is later credited against the defendant’s sentence.

         [¶2] This conclusion does not mean that defendants have no avenue to seek correction of an improper calculation of PSCC. To the contrary, our legal system provides several means to ensure that an error in calculating the credit owed to a defendant can be corrected. A defendant may, for example, challenge the calculation on direct appeal or through a Crim. P. 35(a) "illegal manner" claim. In this case, because all parties agree that both the parties and the court simply overlooked Douglas Baker’s eighteen missing days of PSCC, we conclude that Rule 36 would have been the appropriate route to correct the calculation error. Accordingly, we

Page 761

reverse and remand the case with directions to return it to the district court.

          I. Facts and Procedural History

         [¶3] On November 4, 2009, a Jefferson County court issued a warrant for Douglas Baker’s arrest for sexual assault on a child, pattern of abuse, a class three felony. When Baker learned that he was facing arrest, he fled to Florida.

         [¶4] On June 27, 2011, Baker was arrested on the warrant and booked into a Florida jail. He was then extradited to Colorado where he was booked into the Jefferson County jail on July 15, 2011. He remained in custody for the duration of the case.

         [¶5] Baker pleaded guilty to one count of sexual assault on a child, position of trust, a class three felony, and, on July 12, 2012, he was sentenced to a term of ten years to life in the custody of the Department of Corrections. The court awarded Baker 364 days of credit for time served and designated him a Sexually Violent Predator ("SVP"). At the sentencing hearing, Baker objected to the SVP finding and told the court that he would file a motion objecting to it. Baker, however, ...


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