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People v. Babcock.

2023 COA 49. No. 20CA1678. Sentencing—Restitution—Procedural Deadlines—Waiver—Subject Matter Jurisdiction—Sufficiency of Evidence.

June 8, 2023

Babcock pleaded guilty to child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury to I.B. as part of a deferred judgment and sentence agreement. When it accepted the plea, the court reserved jurisdiction on restitution for 91 days. The prosecution moved to impose restitution 82 days later, requesting $12,258.83 for medical bills. Defense counsel objected to the restitution request 90 days after the court accepted the plea and asked that a restitution hearing be set at a time that was outside the 91-day period, based on the COVID-19 pandemic. The trial court set the hearing accordingly but it was continued because of the pandemic. Ultimately, the hearing was held several months later, and the trial court imposed the requested restitution.

On appeal, Babcock argued that the trial court lacked authority to enter a restitution order more than 91 days after sentencing without a timely and express finding of good cause to extend that deadline. Under CRS § 18-1.3-603(1)(b), if the court reserves the determination of restitution, it must determine the restitution amount within 91 days immediately following the conviction order unless good cause is shown for extending this time period. The deadline is non-jurisdictional and thus can be waived. Here, defense counsel requested a hearing date outside the 91-day period before that deadline expired. Further, Babcock did not have a right to have the trial court make an express finding of good cause to extend the deadline within the original 91 days because that is not a defendant’s right. Rather, the requirement that the trial court make an express finding of good cause to extend the deadline within the original 91 days is a statutory procedure that allows the trial court to retain its authority to impose restitution beyond the original 91-day period. Accordingly, Babcock waived his challenge to the timeliness of the restitution order,

Babcock also contented that insufficient evidence supported the restitution award because the People failed to prove (1) that his conduct proximately caused the losses incurred and (2) the amount of restitution. However, the prosecution provided sufficient evidence for the trial court to find by a preponderance of the evidence that Babcock’s conduct proximately caused I.B.’s need for the medical treatment referenced in the medical bills. And the prosecution proved the amount of restitution by a preponderance of the evidence by submitting I.B.’s detailed medical bills, and the accuracy of the amount was not challenged.

The restitution order was affirmed.

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

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