People v. District Court, Arapahoe County, No. 93SA282

Docket NºNo. 93SA282
Citation868 P.2d 400
Case DateFebruary 14, 1994
CourtSupreme Court of Colorado

Page 400

868 P.2d 400
The PEOPLE of the State of Colorado, Petitioner,
v.
The DISTRICT COURT, ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colorado, and One of
Its Judges, the Honorable Michael J. Watanabe, Respondents.
No. 93SA282.
Supreme Court of Colorado,
En Banc.
Feb. 14, 1994.
Rehearing Denied March 7, 1994.

Page 402

Robert R. Gallagher, Jr., Dist. Atty., James C. Sell, Chief Deputy Dist. Atty., Richard Bloch, Deputy Dist. Atty., Englewood, for petitioner.

Donald R. Knight, Littleton, for respondents.

Justice LOHR delivered the Opinion of the Court.

In this original proceeding under C.A.R. 21, we issued a rule directing the respondent, Arapahoe County District Court, 1 to show cause why it did not exceed its jurisdiction and abuse its discretion when it ruled that two guilty pleas entered by defendant Byron T. Young on August 24, 1988, were constitutionally invalid and therefore granted the defendant's motion to dismiss habitual criminal charges predicated on judgments of conviction resulting from those pleas. Having reviewed the transcript of the hearing at which the pleas were accepted and having considered the arguments of counsel, we now make the rule absolute and direct the district court to reinstate the habitual criminal charges.

I.

The defendant, Byron T. Young, was charged in Arapahoe County District Court with the crime of aggravated robbery 2 based on an incident that occurred on August 28, 1991, and with two habitual criminal counts. 3 The habitual criminal charges were predicated on judgments of conviction for the felonies of theft 4 and attempted theft 5 entered in Denver District Court (the providency court) resulting from pleas of guilty taken in a single providency hearing on August 24, 1988. The defendant moved to dismiss the habitual criminal charges on the basis that the guilty pleas upon which the prior convictions were based were unconstitutionally obtained.

In October 1993, a hearing was held on the motion to dismiss, 6 the Honorable Michael J. Watanabe presiding. Based upon the transcript of the August 24, 1988, providency hearing and defense counsel's arguments, the court ruled that the providency court had not afforded the defendant a constitutionally adequate advisement before accepting his guilty pleas, and that therefore the pleas had been obtained in violation of the defendant's constitutional

Page 403

rights. The court found specifically:

There was no advisement as to right to appeal given to Mr. Young. Mr. Young was not adequately advised as to the requisite mental intent required for these crimes that he pled guilty to, which are theft and attempted theft. Mr. Young was not advised by [the providency court] as relates to the attempted theft charge of what substantial step means.

....

There was also no advisement as relates to any potential parole period in this particular case.

Accordingly, it dismissed both habitual criminal counts.

It is from this ruling that the People petitioned this court for relief under C.A.R. 21.

II.

We first address the propriety of an original proceeding as a procedural device for obtaining interlocutory review of an order dismissing habitual criminal charges. An original proceeding under C.A.R. 21 is an extraordinary remedy limited in purpose and availability. Halaby, McCrea & Cross v. Hoffman, 831 P.2d 902, 905 (Colo.1992); White v. District Court, 695 P.2d 1133, 1135 (Colo.1984). The remedy may be sought "where the district court is proceeding without or in excess of its jurisdiction," C.A.R. 21, and is also proper "where the trial court has abused its discretion and where an appellate remedy would not be adequate," Halaby, 831 P.2d at 905. The granting of the remedy is discretionary with this court. White, 695 P.2d at 1135; Coquina Oil Corp. v. District Court, 623 P.2d 40, 41 (Colo.1981).

In the present case the Arapahoe County District Court has dismissed two habitual criminal charges against the defendant. If required to go to trial prior to appellate determination of the correctness of that ruling, the habitual criminal charges could not be further prosecuted. Accordingly, appellate review following a trial would not provide an adequate remedy. Under these circumstances we elect to exercise our discretion to address the correctness of the order of dismissal prior to trial. See People ex rel. Faulk v. Dist. Ct., 673 P.2d 998 (Colo.1983) (original proceeding available to the prosecution to seek an order directing the respondent court to reinstate habitual criminal counts dismissed on the basis of a purported constitutional infirmity in the habitual criminal statute prior to an upcoming trial); People ex rel. VanMeveren v. Dist. Ct., 643 P.2d 37 (Colo.1982) (same, where dismissal was based on statutory construction issue).

III.

A.

Due process of law requires that a plea of guilty be made knowingly and voluntarily. Henderson v. Morgan, 426 U.S. 637, 645, 96 S.Ct. 2253, 2258, 49 L.Ed.2d 108 (1976); Blehm v. People, 817 P.2d 988, 996 (Colo.1991); Harshfield v. People, 697 P.2d 391, 393 (Colo.1985). In Lacy v. People, 775 P.2d 1 (Colo.), cert. denied, 493 U.S. 944, 110 S.Ct. 350, 107 L.Ed.2d 337 (1989), we noted that a plea may be involuntary in the constitutional sense either because a defendant "does not understand the nature of the constitutional protections he is waiving," id. at 4, or " 'has such an incomplete understanding of the charge that his plea cannot stand as an intelligent admission of guilt,' " id. (quoting Henderson v. Morgan, 426 U.S. at 645, 96 S.Ct. at 2258). A defendant must also be cognizant of the direct consequences of a conviction in order to satisfy the due...

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26 practice notes
  • People v. Darlington, No. 04SA186.
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court of Colorado
    • 24 Enero 2005
    ...contendere plea. Relief pursuant to C.A.R. 21 is an extraordinary remedy limited in purpose and in availability. People v. Dist. Court, 868 P.2d 400, 403 (Colo.1994); Halaby, McCrea & Cross v. Hoffman, 831 P.2d 902, 905 (Colo.1992). The remedy may be sought "where the trial court has abused......
  • Alsides v. Brown Institute, Ltd., Nos. C1-98-1354
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Minnesota
    • 13 Abril 1999
    ...instructors, and computer training for all students" and failed to provide advanced training at no extra cost as promised, CenCor, 868 P.2d at 400; (3) a student's parents alleged that they contracted for "specified services, such as appropriate individualized reading instruction and adequa......
  • Hendricks v. Clemson University, No. 25606.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • 17 Marzo 2003
    ...allegations that Cencor had obligated itself to provide such tangible things as modern equipment and computer training for all students. 868 P.2d at 400. Clemson admits that some aspects of the student/university relationship are indeed contractual, but argues Hendricks has not pointed to a......
  • People v. Ellison, No. 99SA117.
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court of Colorado
    • 4 Diciembre 2000
    ...is ruling without jurisdiction or when it has abused its discretion and there is no adequate appellate remedy. People v. Dist. Court, 868 P.2d 400, 403 (Colo.1994). C.A.R. 21 is appropriate when a court strikes a part of a criminal statute as unconstitutional and the prosecution has no othe......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
26 cases
  • People v. Darlington, No. 04SA186.
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court of Colorado
    • 24 Enero 2005
    ...contendere plea. Relief pursuant to C.A.R. 21 is an extraordinary remedy limited in purpose and in availability. People v. Dist. Court, 868 P.2d 400, 403 (Colo.1994); Halaby, McCrea & Cross v. Hoffman, 831 P.2d 902, 905 (Colo.1992). The remedy may be sought "where the trial court has abused......
  • Alsides v. Brown Institute, Ltd., Nos. C1-98-1354
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Minnesota
    • 13 Abril 1999
    ...instructors, and computer training for all students" and failed to provide advanced training at no extra cost as promised, CenCor, 868 P.2d at 400; (3) a student's parents alleged that they contracted for "specified services, such as appropriate individualized reading instruction and adequa......
  • Hendricks v. Clemson University, No. 25606.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • 17 Marzo 2003
    ...allegations that Cencor had obligated itself to provide such tangible things as modern equipment and computer training for all students. 868 P.2d at 400. Clemson admits that some aspects of the student/university relationship are indeed contractual, but argues Hendricks has not pointed to a......
  • People v. Ellison, No. 99SA117.
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court of Colorado
    • 4 Diciembre 2000
    ...is ruling without jurisdiction or when it has abused its discretion and there is no adequate appellate remedy. People v. Dist. Court, 868 P.2d 400, 403 (Colo.1994). C.A.R. 21 is appropriate when a court strikes a part of a criminal statute as unconstitutional and the prosecution has no othe......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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