Dorsey v. People.
2023 CO 51. No. 21SC856. CRS § 18-3-412.5, Failure to Register as a Sex Offender—Recidivist Provision—Class 6→Class 5 Felony Transforming Fact—Element v. Sentence Enhancer—Sixth Amendment Right to a Jury Trial—Article II of the Colorado Constitution.
October 3, 2023
The Supreme Court held that the General Assembly intended to designate the recidivist provision of the statute describing the crime of failure to register as a sex offender, CRS § 18-3-412.5(2)(a), as a sentence enhancer and not as an element of the offense. A sentence enhancer may be proved to a judge by a preponderance of the evidence, and an element of the offense must be proved to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt. The Court further held that allowing a judge to elevate a conviction for failure to register from a class 6 felony to a class 5 felony based on a prior conviction for failure to register doesn’t violate a defendant’s right to a jury trial under either the Sixth Amendment or article II, §§ 23 and 25, of the Colorado Constitution.