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Colorado Supreme Court Opinions
February 24, 2014

2014 CO 13. No. 11SC235. LePage v. People.
Presumption of Regularity.

The Supreme Court considered whether the court of appeals correctly applied the presumption of regularity when it determined that the jury did not receive the correct verdict forms. The trial judge read to the jury the correct elemental instructions and verdict forms; therefore, it can be inferred that the jury received the correct verdict forms. When the record was certified on appeal, however, one of the verdict forms was stapled to a refused jury instruction that was not given to the jury, raising the inference that the jury in fact may not have received the correct verdict forms.

The Court held that defendant failed to show that the jury did not receive the correct verdict forms. The court of appeals had affirmed the trial court’s judgment, holding that failure to give the jury the verdict form for the lesser included offense was not reversible error. The Supreme Court, however, affirmed the trial court’s judgment because defendant did not show that the trial court erred. Therefore, the Court affirmed the court of appeals’ judgment on other grounds.

2014 CO 14. No. 11SA309. Nowak v. Suthers, Colorado Attorney General.
Parole Eligibility Date—Statutory Interpretation.

In this habeas corpus appeal, the Supreme Court evaluated for the first time the relationship between CRS §§ 17-22.5-101 and -403(1) of article 22.5, which governs inmate and parole time computation. The Court held that, for the purpose of computing an inmate’s parole eligibility date, § 17-22.5-101 requires the Department of Corrections to construe all sentences as one continuous sentence when the inmate has been committed under several convictions with separate sentences, even when doing so results in the inmate becoming parole eligible before serving at least 50% of the second sentence. Accordingly, the Court affirmed the trial court’s judgment.

Colorado Supreme Court Opinions