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People v. Omar.

2023 COA 13. No. 20CA1607. Sentencing—Jurisdiction—Youthful Offender System—Revocation—Remedies.

February 9, 2023

Omar pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated robbery for a crime he had committed when he was under 18 years old. In accordance with his plea agreement, the district court sentenced him to five years in the Youthful Offender System (YOS), with a 15-year Department of Correction (DOC) sentence “suspended upon successful completion of the YOS sentence.” At the YOS, Omar signed a contract agreeing to the YOS’s specific terms and conditions and acknowledging that his YOS sentence could be revoked for failure to comply with the contract. The People subsequently petitioned the district court to revoke Omar’s YOS sentence and impose the suspended adult sentence based on his repeated refusal to comply with YOS’s terms or conditions. Ultimately, following a number of delays related to the pandemic and the failure to transport Omar to court, the court revoked the YOS sentence and imposed the DOC sentence, backdated to the date of Omar’s guilty plea, minus the 295 days of presentence confinement credit written into his plea agreement.

On appeal, Omar contended that the court lacked jurisdiction to revoke his YOS sentence and impose a DOC sentence because the DOC, the People, and the district court acted contrary to the YOS statute by missing the 60-day deadline in CRS § 18-1.3-407(5)(a) and the 126-day deadline in CRS § 18-1.3-407(5)(c). However, the plain language of § 18-1.3-407(5)(a) does not require the DOC, the People, or the district court to act within 60 days of a youthful offender’s suitability hearing; rather, it limits how long an offender may be held in isolation or segregation or in an adult facility without the sentencing court’s action when the offender poses a danger to himself or others. Section 18-1.3-407(5)(a) also does not explicitly limit the district court’s jurisdiction. Similarly, the § 18-1.3-407(5) deadlines are not jurisdictional; the district court retains jurisdiction over sentencing proceedings if those deadlines pass and has discretion to remedy the missed deadlines. Here, while the statutory deadlines were exceeded, the district court correctly concluded that the failure to meet the § 18-1.3-407(5)(a) and (c) deadlines did not divest it of jurisdiction over the petition to revoke Omar’s YOS sentence and impose the DOC sentence.

Omar also argued that the district court reversibly erred by refusing to impose any remedy for CRS § 18-1.3-407(5) violations. Here, it is undisputed that the district court, the People, and the DOC violated the 35-day and 126-day timelines in § 18-1.3-407(5)(c). However, the district court acknowledged that it had discretion to impose a remedy but concluded that none was warranted because (1) the delays related to the pandemic and the failure of writs to transport Omar were not attributable to the People; and (2) the court had imposed the initially suspended DOC sentence on the condition that Omar successfully complete his YOS sentence, and Omar did not dispute that he had failed to comply with the YOS’s conditions. Further, it is not clear that any violation of § 18-1.3-407(5)(a) occurred. Accordingly, the district court did not abuse its discretion.

The order revoking Omar’s YOS sentence and imposing the previously suspended DOC sentence was affirmed.

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

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