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People v. Propst.

2021 COA 13. No. 18CA1360.  Criminal Law—Sentencing—Probation—Plea Agreement—Revocation—Resentencing.

February 11, 2021

The State charged defendant with one count of second degree assault and six counts of child abuse. The prosecutor and defendant negotiated a plea agreement allowing defendant to plead guilty to the assault charge in exchange for dismissal of the remaining charges. The parties also agreed to a suspended prison sentence conditioned on defendant’s successful completion of probation. The court accepted the agreement. Defendant thereafter missed her probation intake appointment, and the probation department filed a complaint recommending revocation of probation. The court believed it did not have discretion to continue probation and sentenced defendant to six years in the Department of Corrections pursuant to the plea agreement.

On appeal, defendant contended that the sentencing court erred by finding that it lacked the discretion to impose a sentence other than the suspended sentence, upon finding a probation violation. A sentencing court, after accepting a plea agreement and imposing a suspended prison sentence conditioned on the successful completion of probation, has discretion to continue probation, revoke probation, or impose any sentence that it might originally have imposed. Further, in those circumstances, a sentencing court’s decision not to impose a suspended sentence does not breach the parties’ plea agreement. Accordingly, the sentencing court erred.

The sentence was vacated and the case was remanded for resentencing on the probation violation.

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

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