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Russell v. People.

2020 CO 37. No. 18SC646. Criminal Law—Sentencing and Punishment—Presentence Confinement Credit.

May 11, 2020

Because the Supreme Court determined that its prior decisions interpreting the presentence confinement credit (PSCC) statute are not consistent with the language of the statute and cannot be reconciled with each other, the Court here identified three principles for determining when a defendant is entitled to PSCC and resolved inconsistencies in its previous interpretations of the PSCC statute and the related substantial nexus test.

First, a defendant is entitled to PSCC for each day served where there is a substantial nexus between the conduct or charges for which he is confined and the sentence ultimately imposed. A substantial nexus exists where the defendant would have remained confined on the charge or conduct for which credit is sought in the absence of any other charge. Second, causation, not geography, is the defining question in determining if there is a substantial nexus. And third, a defendant is not entitled to duplicative PSCC.

Applying these principles here, the Court concluded that Russell is entitled to additional PSCC against his Douglas County sentence for the period that he was confined after he was resentenced in Jefferson County until he was resentenced in Douglas County. Accordingly, the Court of Appeals’ judgment was reversed and the case was remanded with instructions to return it to the district court for correction of the PSCC award.

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