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People v. Barnett.

2020 COA 167. No. 19CA1056.  Criminal Law—Attempt to Influence a Public Servant—Private Institution.

December 3, 2020

ComCor, Inc. (ComCor) is an entity that handles court-ordered supervision of individuals with GPS monitoring. Defendant presented what purported to be an official court document to a ComCor employee to obtain removal of his GPS monitor. ComCor’s employee removed the device from defendant and completed paperwork logging the return of the equipment. After it was discovered that defendant had presented a false order to ComCor, he was convicted of attempt to influence a public servant under CRS § 18-8-306 and sentenced to eight years in the custody of the Department of Corrections. While this appeal was pending, defendant filed an emergency motion with the district court under Crim. P. 35(b) requesting a reduction of his sentence to probation due to risks associated with COVID-19. Upon issuance of a limited remand, the district court substantively addressed and denied defendant’s motion.

On appeal, defendant contended that because ComCor is not a governmental body and its employees are not public servants, and because CRS § 18-8-306 does not apply to private institutions, his conviction should be reversed. CRS § 18-8-306 applies in this situation to employees of private community corrections organizations such as ComCor. Here, there was sufficient evidence to show that ComCor had the responsibility to supervise individuals required to wear GPS monitoring devices and provided such supervision services at the direction of the courts. Therefore, ComCor employees performed a government function and qualified to be public servants for purposes of CRS § 18-8-306. Because defendant presented what purported to be an official court document to a ComCor employee to obtain removal of his GPS monitor, the evidence supported his conviction.

Defendant also argued that the district court erred in denying his Crim. P. 35(b) motion. However, the district court had reasons for its original sentence that were not overridden by the COVID-19 pandemic, and it did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion.

The judgment of conviction and order were affirmed.

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

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