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Cisneros v. Elder.

2022 COA 106. No. 19CA0546. Colorado Governmental Immunity Act—Waiver of Immunity—Operation of a Jail.

September 15, 2022

Cisneros properly posted bond while a detainee in county jail, but the sheriff refused his release due to a hold placed on him by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Cisneros sued the sheriff for false imprisonment under the Colorado Governmental Immunity Act (CGIA). A Court of Appeals division concluded that the sheriff was immune from the claim because it alleged an intentional tort. Therefore, the division did not reach the sheriff’s argument that the CGIA’s immunity waiver did not apply because Cisneros did not show that his injury resulted from the jail’s operation under CRS § 24-10-106(1)(b). The Supreme Court held that the CGIA waived immunity for intentional torts, but it remanded on the sheriff’s argument because it was not within the grant of certiorari.

On remand, Cisneros argued that he was injured by being detained unlawfully for almost four months after he posted bond. The CGIA provides that sovereign immunity is waived for injuries resulting from a jail’s operation. A jail’s primary purpose is to confine persons who are charged with crimes and awaiting trial or serving short sentences. Accordingly, the sheriff’s determination not to release Cisneros after he posted bond was related to the jail’s purpose and operation. Therefore, the sheriff is not immune from suit under CRS § 24-10-106(1)(b).

The order was affirmed and the case was remanded for further proceedings.

Official Colorado Court of Appeals proceedings can be found at the Colorado Court of Appeals website.

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