County Court In and For El Paso County v. Ruth, C-1190

Docket NºNo. C-1190
Citation575 P.2d 1, 194 Colo. 352
Case DateDecember 12, 1977
CourtSupreme Court of Colorado

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575 P.2d 1
194 Colo. 352
James Quine, Petitioners,
Joseph R. RUTH, Respondent.
No. C-1190.
Supreme Court of Colorado, En Banc.
Dec. 12, 1977.
Rehearing Denied Jan. 9, 1978.

[194 Colo. 353] J. D. MacFarlane, Atty. Gen., Jean E. Dubofsky, Deputy Atty. Gen., Edward G. Donovan, Sol. Gen., David K. Rees, Asst. Atty. Gen., Denver, for petitioners.

MacLaughlin, Ciccolella & Barton, John B. Ciccolella, Colorado Springs, for respondent.

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[194 Colo. 354] ERICKSON, Justice.

We granted certiorari to review the court of appeals' decision in Ruth v. County Court, Colo.App., 563 P.2d 956 (1976). We reverse and remand with directions.

The respondent was charged in two criminal actions with violations of the Colorado motor vehicle laws. The first charge was filed on January 20, 1975, and the second charge, based upon the same occurrence, was made on February 7, 1975. On January 20, 1975, he was charged with improperly backing his vehicle into another vehicle 1 and with leaving the scene of an accident without attempting to notify the owner of the second vehicle or making a report of the accident. 2 The respondent pled not guilty to these charges, and trial was set. Thereafter, on February 7, 1975, the respondent was also charged in the same court with having operated a vehicle without a valid operator's license. 3 It is undisputed that all of the alleged violations of the motor vehicle laws arose out of the same occurrence. The respondent pled guilty to the charge filed on February 7, 1975, and sentence was imposed in the county court.

The respondent then moved to dismiss the criminal action filed on January 20, 1975, contending that his guilty plea and sentence to the later charge barred further prosecution because of the criminal joinder statute. Section 18-1-408(2), C.R.S.1973; 4 Crim.P. 8(a). The county court denied the respondent's motion. The respondent then filed a complaint in the district court, pursuant to C.R.C.P. 106(a)(4), seeking relief in the nature of prohibition and asserting that the county court would act in excess of its jurisdiction if it permitted further prosecution for offenses arising out of the same incident. The district court refused to issue the writ. The court of [194 Colo. 355] appeals reversed and ordered that a writ of prohibition issue.

Three questions require discussion: (1) Does the court of appeals have appellate jurisdiction when a district court denies a writ of prohibition? (2) If so, did the court of appeals properly exercise its jurisdiction? (3) Is denial of a motion to dismiss based upon the criminal joinder statute an appealable order subject to immediate review?


The original proceeding, filed pursuant to C.R.C.P. 106, was commenced in the district court by the respondent. It was not an appeal of the county court's denial of the respondent's motion to dismiss, but was an original proceeding framed in such a form as to test the county court's jurisdiction. The district court decision was, therefore, a final judgment, subject to appellate review in the court of appeals. Section 13-4-102(1), C.R.S.1973. It follows that further review was therefore possible in the supreme court by writ of certiorari. Section 13-4-108, C.R.S.1973.


The court of appeals' jurisdiction on appeal is limited to issues which had been before the district court in the proper procedural posture. The procedure under Rule 106 is clear and unambiguous. In

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cases of this nature, "(u)pon the filing of the complaint the court shall direct the issuance of a citation to the inferior tribunal to show cause why the relief requested shall not be allowed." C.R.C.P. 106(a)(4). The district court failed to issue the required citation to show cause to the county court in this case. The court of appeals, therefore, exceeded its jurisdiction by reaching the joinder issue and ordering that a writ of prohibition issue.


Notwithstanding our ruling, a review of the propriety of a Rule 106 action in cases such as this is advisable. C.R.C.P. 106(a)(4) provides a procedure to challenge the trial court's jurisdiction when there is "no plain, speedy and adequate remedy." The respondent's initiation of this Rule 106 proceeding is consistent with the practice permitted in earlier decisions which held that a writ of prohibition is a proper method of challenging the jurisdiction of a...

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34 cases
  • Huff v. State
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • September 1, 1991
    ...or other form of review was available under state law and did not decide the constitutional question. County Court of El Paso v. Ruth, 194 Colo. 352, 575 P.2d 1 (1978); Commonwealth v. Chatfield-Taylor, 399 Mass. 1, 502 N.E.2d 512 (1987); State v. Milenkovich, 236 Neb. 42, 458 N.W.2d 747 (1......
  • People v. District Court, City and County of Denver
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Colorado
    • January 20, 1998
    ...prohibition of a statute ....") (omission in original) (citation omitted), overruled in part on different grounds, County Court v. Ruth, 194 Colo. 352, 575 P.2d 1 (1978). See also People v. Fullerton, 186 Colo. 97, 99-101, 525 P.2d 1166, 1167-68 (1974) (holding that the trial court exceeded......
  • 77 Hawai'i 351, State v. Baranco
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Hawai'i
    • November 15, 1994
    ...111 S.Ct. 554, 112 L.Ed.2d 562 (1990) (reviewing through Special Action Procedure provided by statute); County Court of El Paso v. Ruth, 194 Colo. 352, 575 P.2d 1 (1977) (reviewing through writ of prohibition); Commonwealth v. Chatfield-Taylor, 399 Mass. 1, 502 N.E.2d 512 (1987) (petition f......
  • People v. Rogers, 86SA156
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Colorado
    • September 14, 1987
    ...956 (1977) (the compulsory joinder statute operates as a jurisdictional bar to prosecution), rev'd on other grounds, County Court v. Ruth, 194 Colo. 352, 575 P.2d 1 (1977); cf. Bustamante v. District Court, 138 Colo. 97, 329 P.2d 1013 (1958) (statutes of limitation in criminal cases create ......
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