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People in the Interest of E.V.

2022 COA 53. No. 20CA2087. Delinquency—Possession of a Handgun—Suppression of Evidence—Reasonable Suspicion—Investigatory Stop—Sentencing—Mandatory Detention.

May 19, 2022

Police received a call that an assault was in progress at a park next to an apartment building. When officers were searching for the victim in a nearby apartment building, they encountered E.V., who was talking to another person whom an officer recognized from past negative interactions. Officers approached, and the other person fled. An officer attempted to talk to E.V., but he refused to cooperate. While the officer was handcuffing E.V., he grabbed E.V.’s drawstring bag off his shoulder and felt what seemed to be a handgun inside. The officer opened the bag and discovered a handgun. E.V. was adjudicated delinquent for possession of a handgun by a juvenile. By the time of sentencing, E.V. had turned 18. The magistrate determined that a mandatory sentencing provision required E.V. to serve at least five days of detention, which she sentenced him to serve in jail because he was 18. The magistrate stayed the execution of the jail sentence until the completion of this appeal. The district court affirmed the adjudication and sentence.

On appeal, E.V. argued that the magistrate erred by failing to suppress evidence of the handgun because there was no reasonable suspicion that justified the investigatory stop. Here, it was reasonable for officers to suspect that E.V. might have been sweaty and out of breath because he was involved in the assault that had just occurred in an area where fights and shootings involving juveniles were common. Because the officer had reasonable suspicion to briefly detain E.V., the trial court did not abuse its discretion in failing to suppress the evidence of the handgun.

E.V. also argued that the magistrate erred by ruling that the mandatory minimum sentencing provision in CRS § 19-2-911(2) required a five-day jail sentence. Section 19-2-911(2) applies to (1) persons under 18 years of age, and (2) persons over 18 years of age who are under the court’s continuing jurisdiction for an alleged delinquent act committed before they turned 18. The statute authorizes only a mandatory period of “detention,” defined in CRS § 19-1-103(40) as the temporary care of a child (a person under 18). Consequently, detention is a sentence that can be imposed only on a person under 18. Because E.V. was not under 18 at sentencing, he was not a child, and he could not be sentenced to any form of detention under CRS § 19-2-911(2). Therefore, he was not subject to a mandatory minimum sentence, and his five-day jail sentence was not authorized by CRS § 19-2- 911(2). Accordingly, the magistrate erred.

The judgment was affirmed. The district court’s order affirming the magistrate’s sentence was reversed, and the case was remanded to the district court with directions to remand to the magistrate for resentencing consistent with this opinion and the applicable sentencing provisions.

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

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