Dodson v. Cooper

Decision Date08 July 1985
Docket NumberNo. 84SA315,84SA315
Citation705 P.2d 500
PartiesThomas Keith DODSON, Petitioner-Appellant, v. Thomas COOPER, Superintendent, Shadow Mountain Correctional Facility, Respondent-Appellee.
CourtColorado Supreme Court

Thomas Keith Dodson, pro se.

David F. Vela, Colorado State Public Defender, Denver, Kenneth M. Plotz, Deputy State Public Defender, Salida, for petitioner-appellant.

Duane Woodard, Atty. Gen., Charles B. Howe, Deputy Atty. Gen., Richard H. Forman, Sol. Gen., Peter J. Stapp, Asst. Atty. Gen., Appellate Section, Denver, for respondent-appellee.

LOHR, Justice.

In this appeal from the Fremont County District Court, the appellant, Thomas Keith Dodson, challenges the district court's refusal to grant habeas corpus relief to prevent his extradition to Texas. Dodson asserts that extradition is precluded because of noncompliance with the Interstate Agreement on Detainers with respect to the Texas charge that provided the basis for the extradition request. The court held that although the requirements of the Interstate Agreement on Detainers may not have been satisfied, procedures for extradition had been complied with, and the asserted violation of the detainers agreement did not bar extradition. We affirm the judgment of the district court.


The facts giving rise to this controversy are not in dispute. On January 20, 1983, Dodson was arrested in California on two outstanding warrants, one from Jefferson County, Colorado, and one from Texas. Dodson waived extradition to Colorado and was returned to Jefferson County for trial in February of 1983. On April 11, 1983, Dodson was sentenced in Jefferson County District Court to eight years imprisonment on a charge of accessory to second degree murder. Because of overcrowding in the state penitentiary, Dodson was held first in the Jefferson County jail, then transferred to the Pueblo County jail, and later returned to Jefferson County before being sent to a correctional facility in Canon City. Dodson testified that he learned of the Texas charge pending against him when he was arrested in California, he discussed the existence of the charge with jail officials in Jefferson and Pueblo counties, and the judge, the prosecutor and Dodson's attorney mentioned the Texas charge during the court proceedings that resulted in his sentence. However, Dodson was not given any information concerning the exact nature of the Texas charge or what he could do to expedite its resolution. On June 6, 1983, Dodson arrived at the Department of Corrections Diagnostic Unit at Canon City. He was served with a copy of the Texas detainer on July 27, 1983. 1 On February 9, 1984, the governor of Colorado issued a warrant for Dodson's extradition, and the appellant then sought relief by habeas corpus.

Dodson contends that the failure of Colorado authorities to advise him promptly of the Texas detainer violated Article III(c) of the Interstate Agreement on Detainers (IAD), 2 and that therefore the detainer should be dismissed and extradition denied. The trial court concluded, however, that it was without authority to dismiss the detainer or the underlying charge that had been brought by the State of Texas, that it was the responsibility of the Texas courts to determine whether the IAD had been violated, and that since an extradition proceeding had been instituted by Texas and the requirements of the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act 3 had been met, the writ of habeas corpus must be discharged.

In his appeal to this court, Dodson's principal argument is that Colorado officials breached a duty under Article III(c) of the IAD by failing to provide him promptly with notice of the detainer that had been lodged against him. The record in this case, however, contains no indication that the IAD was violated. 4 Moreover, the record supports the district court's ruling that Texas has complied with the requirements of the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act. We hold that even if the asserted violation of the IAD had been established, interstate transfer of the appellant under the procedures of the extradition act would not be barred. Therefore, the trial court correctly discharged the writ of habeas corpus.


The IAD and the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act provide two different methods by which a state can obtain custody of a defendant incarcerated in another state. The extradition act applies to fugitives in general, § 16-19-103, 8 C.R.S. (1978), but the IAD applies only to prisoners, § 24-60-501, Article I, 10 C.R.S. (1982).

The purpose of the IAD is "to encourage the expeditious and orderly disposition of ... charges and determination of the proper status of any and all detainers based on untried indictments, informations, or complaints" so that any uncertainty about the prisoner's status will be dispelled, and rehabilitation and treatment can proceed unhindered. Id. 5 A "detainer" is "a notification filed with the institution in which a prisoner is serving a sentence, advising that he is wanted to face pending criminal charges in another jurisdiction." United States v. Mauro, 436 U.S. 340, 359, 98 S.Ct. 1834, 1846, 56 L.Ed.2d 329 (1978); Cuyler v. Adams, 449 U.S. 433, 436 n. 3, 101 S.Ct. 703, 706 n. 3, 66 L.Ed.2d 641 (1981); People v. Moody, 676 P.2d 691, 693 n. 2 (Colo.1984). The provisions of the IAD are not activated until the "receiving state," the state in which charges against the prisoner are pending, lodges a detainer with the "sending state," the state having custody of the prisoner. United States v. Mauro, 436 U.S. 340, 98 S.Ct. 1834, 56 L.Ed.2d 329 (1978); People v. Quackenbush, 687 P.2d 448 (Colo.1984); People v. Lincoln, 42 Colo.App. 512, 601 P.2d 641 (1979). Once activated, Article III(c) of the IAD requires the warden or other official having custody of the prisoner to inform him promptly of "the source and contents of any detainer lodged against him and of his right to make a request for final disposition of the indictment, information, or complaint on which the detainer is based."

After a prisoner has been notified that a detainer has been filed and that he has the right to request final disposition of the charges underlying the detainer, the IAD provides two methods of initiating a transfer of the prisoner to the receiving state for trial. First, the prisoner can request final disposition of the charges. In that event, he effectively waives extradition and must be brought to trial in the receiving state within 180 days. § 24-60-501, Article III(a), (e), 10 C.R.S. (1982). Alternatively, the receiving state may request temporary custody of the prisoner so that he can be prosecuted in the receiving state and then returned to the sending state. § 24-60-501, Articles IV, V, 10 C.R.S. (1982).

Although in this case Texas triggered the operation of the Interstate Agreement on Detainers by lodging a detainer and causing Dodson to be informed of that filing, it appears that no further action was taken under the IAD. Dodson does not contend that he requested speedy disposition of the charges after receiving notice of the detainer, and rather than requesting temporary custody of the prisoner pursuant to Article IV of the IAD, the governor of Texas demanded that Dodson be extradited to stand trial in that state. In accordance with the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act, § 16-19-101 to -133, 8 C.R.S. (1973), the governor of Colorado issued a governor's warrant for Dodson's arrest.

Under both the IAD and the extradition act, judicial review of the basis of a transfer is available in the sending state, 6 but is narrowly limited in scope. Cuyler v. Adams, 449 U.S. 433, 101 S.Ct. 703, 66 L.Ed.2d 641 (1981); Moen v. Wilson, 189 Colo. 85, 536 P.2d 1129 (1975). If Texas had requested temporary custody of Dodson pursuant to Article IV of the IAD, Dodson could have challenged the transfer on the grounds that the requirements of the IAD had not been complied with. Moen v. Wilson. However, here Dodson is attempting to challenge compliance with the IAD when, in fact, his transfer has been initiated under the extradition act. This raises the question whether IAD violations can be considered in a proceeding to challenge extradition.

The scope of inquiry in a habeas corpus proceeding to challenge extradition is limited to issues concerning: "1) the technical sufficiency of the extradition documents, 2) the identification of the accused, 3) whether the accused has been substantially charged with a crime, and 4) whether the accused is a fugitive from justice." Pruett v. Barry, 696 P.2d 789, 791 (Colo.1985). Accord Michigan v. Doran, 439 U.S. 282, 99 S.Ct. 530, 58 L.Ed.2d 521 (1978) (the seminal case); Rodriquez v. Sandoval, 680 P.2d 1278 (Colo.1984). The extradition act was adopted to implement the constitutional duty of states to extradite fugitives. Michigan v. Doran. The narrow scope of inquiry at an extradition hearing reflects federal constitutional and statutory limits on the bases for denying extradition that can be recognized by courts in an asylum state. Michigan v. Doran, 439 U.S. at 288-89, 99 S.Ct. at 534-35; Giardino v. Bourbeau, 193 Conn. 116, 475 A.2d 298, 302 (1984); U.S. Const. art. IV, § 2, cl.2; 18 U.S.C. § 3182. Therefore, in order to determine whether an IAD violation is cognizable by a court in an extradition proceeding, we must decide whether it is relevant to resolution of any of the issues that can be considered at such a hearing.

Whether a person is a fugitive from justice and is substantially charged with a crime in the demanding state are two of the inquiries that may be made by an asylum state at an extradition hearing. A fugitive is "[a] person charged by indictment or by affidavit before a magistrate with the commission within a State of a crime covered by its laws, and who, after the date of the commission of such crime leaves the State." Appleyard v. Massachusetts, 203 U.S. 222, 227, 27 S.Ct. 122, 123,...

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