People v. Jones

Decision Date11 September 2014
Docket NumberCourt of Appeals No. 14CA1046
Citation338 P.3d 1128
PartiesThe PEOPLE of the State of Colorado, Plaintiff–Appellee, v. Zachariah M. JONES, Defendant–Appellant.
CourtColorado Court of Appeals


Petition dismissed.

City and County of Denver District Court No. 13CR5353, Honorable Elizabeth A. Starrs, Judge

Mitchell R. Morrissey, District Attorney, Robert J. Whitley, Chief Appellate Deputy District Attorney, Denver, Colorado, for PlaintiffAppellee.

Douglas K. Wilson, Colorado State Public Defender, Jud Lohnes, Deputy State Public Defender, Denver, Colorado, for DefendantAppellant.


¶ 1 In this felony case, the trial court set bond for defendant, Zachariah M. Jones. He posted the bond, and the jail released him from its custody. While he was free on bond, a second court found that there was probable cause to believe that he had committed another felony. Based on that finding, the trial court revoked his release on bond in this case, and it ordered that the jail hold him without bond until this case was resolved.

¶ 2 Do we have jurisdiction over defendant's petition that asks us to review the trial court's decision to revoke his release on bond? We answer that question “no,” and we therefore dismiss the petition for review.

I. Background

¶ 3 Denver police officers laid the first paving stone in the road to this appellate proceeding when they arrested defendant in mid–October 2013. He allegedly possessed crack cocaine. He posted a $10,000 bond the next day, and the jail released him. Denver prosecutors filed felony charges based on the arrest about five days later.

¶ 4 At the beginning of February 2014, while in Adams County, defendant allegedly shot his brother in the leg with a handgun. Armed with a warrant, Aurora police officers arrested him. He posted a $10,000 bond. Adams County prosecutors later charged him with second degree assault.

¶ 5 Also in early 2014, Denver prosecutors charged defendant with attempted first degree murder and first degree assault. These charges arose out of events that allegedly occurred in 2011. A court set the bond in that case at $100,000. Defendant posted that bond, too.

¶ 6 At the end of February 2014, a Denver prosecutor filed a motion to “Revoke Bond Pursuant to [section 16–4–105(3), C.R.S.2013] in the Denver crack cocaine case. The motion also stated that the prosecution was required to provide defendant with “reasonable notice of application for modification of bond” pursuant to section 16–4–109(3), C.R.S.2013.

¶ 7 The motion contained two basic assertions. First, an Adams County court had “found probable cause to believe” that defendant had committed the felony of second degree assault. The motion asked the court to revoke defendant's release on bond for that reason under section 16–4–105(3). See § 16–4–105(3) (court may revoke bond upon finding of probable cause to believe that defendant has committed a felony while released).

¶ 8 Second, the motion contended that [d]efendant's position ha[d] changed for the worse[.] He was now charged with “three pending felony cases as opposed to one.” The result of convictions in all three cases would be “mandatory prison sentence[s].” Even if the respective courts imposed concurrent sentences, defendant faced up to thirty-two years in prison.

¶ 9 A few days later, the prosecutor supplemented the motion with a copy of the arrest warrant in the second degree assault case that an Adams County magistrate had signed. It was accompanied by a lengthy affidavit that described the events surrounding the alleged crime.

¶ 10 The trial court held a hearing on the motion to revoke defendant's release on bond in early March 2014. Defendant, free on the three bonds, appeared.

¶ 11 The prosecutor told the trial court that the purpose of the motion was “to revoke [defendant's] bond in its entirety ... [to] have him held on a no-bond hold.” After listening to arguments from both sides, the court concluded that section 16–4–105(3) gave courts discretion to revoke defendants' bonds and then to hold them in jail without bond. It added that the Adams County court had found probable cause to believe that defendant had committed a felony—shooting his brother—after the jail had released him on bond in the Denver crack cocaine case.

¶ 12 The court then, exercising its discretion, granted the prosecution's motion. It ordered the jail to hold defendant without bond until the crack cocaine case was resolved. The court observed that defendant placed “everyone [ ] at risk if he remained free in the community.

¶ 13 The trial court issued a written order five days later. The order reiterated the court's conclusion that section 16–4–105(3) gave it “the power to revoke [defendant's] bond in this case.”

¶ 14 Defendant filed a petition for review in this court at the beginning of June 2014, relying on section 16–4–204(1), C.R.S.2013. He asked us to “reverse” the trial court's decision to jail him without bond, and to order the trial court “to set bond in this case.” The prosecution responded that we do not have jurisdiction over this case, but if we do, we should affirm the trial court's decision.

¶ 15 We ordered the parties to provide us with supplemental briefs addressing the issues more extensively.

II. Jurisdiction

¶ 16 The prosecution contends that we do not have jurisdiction over this petition for review. This contention takes the form of a syllogism:

1. The court of appeals is a statutory court, and it has jurisdiction over appellate proceedings only if the legislature has given it jurisdiction.

2. Defendant filed this petition for review under section 16–4–204(1), which states that (a) a defendant may “seek review ... in the appellate court for orders entered under sections 16–4–107 and 16–4–201, C.R.S.2013, “by filing a petition for review; and (b) such a petition is “the exclusive method of appellate review” for orders entered under sections 16–4–104, C.R.S.2013, 16–4–107, and 16–4–201.

3. The statute under which the trial court entered its order – section 16–4–105(3)—is not mentioned in the statute under which defendant filed this petition for reviewsection 16–4–204(1).

4. Therefore, the court of appeals does not have jurisdiction over this petition for review.

¶ 17 We agree with the prosecution's position.

A. General Principles
1. Statutory Interpretation

¶ 18 The interpretation of a statute is a legal question, which we review de novo. Hendricks v. People, 10 P.3d 1231, 1235 (Colo.2000).

¶ 19 Our goal in interpreting a statute is to determine the legislature's intent. Ceja v. Lemire, 154 P.3d 1064, 1066 (Colo.2007). To make that determination, we look at the statute's language, and we give effect to its plain and ordinary meaning. Id. When construing the ordinary meaning of the language, we read the statutory scheme as a whole to “give consistent, harmonious, and sensible effect” to all the statute's parts. Jefferson Cnty. Bd. of Equalization v. Gerganoff, 241 P.3d 932, 935 (Colo.2010). If the plain and ordinary meaning of the language is clear, we interpret the statute as the legislature wrote it, and we enforce it as written. Ceja, 154 P.3d at 1066; Carruthers v. Carrier Access Corp., 251 P.3d 1199, 1203 (Colo.App.2010).

2. Our Jurisdiction

¶ 20 Colorado's Constitution established our supreme court, the district courts, and the county courts. Colo. Const. art. VI, § 1. But we are a creature of statute. Id. (“The judicial power of the state shall be vested in ... such other courts ... with jurisdiction inferior to the supreme court, as the general assembly may, from time to time establish[.]).

¶ 21 The legislature founded the present iteration of the Colorado Court of Appeals in 1969, and we began our work on January 1, 1970. Ch. 106, § 37–21–2, 1969 Colo. Sess. Laws 265; Bill Dreiling Motor Co. v. Court of Appeals, 171 Colo. 448, 451–54, 468 P.2d 37, 38–39 (1970); Barbara Bintliff, A Jurisdictional History of the Colorado Courts, 65 U. Colo. L.Rev. 577, 602 (1994).

¶ 22 The legislature defines our jurisdiction, too. Musick v. Woznicki, 136 P.3d 244, 249 (Colo.2006) (the legislature has “the authority to define the jurisdiction” of the court of appeals). So we “look to the language of jurisdictional statutes ... to discern the extent” of our jurisdiction. Id.

¶ 23 The legislature can modify a general grant of jurisdiction with “specific limitations.” People v. Owens, 219 P.3d 379, 383 (Colo. App. 2009). But we “have no authority to expand [our] appellate jurisdiction [as] specified by” the legislature, see Holdridge v. Bd. of Educ., 881 P.2d 448, 450–51 (Colo.App.1994), and we cannot “modify the jurisdiction granted [us] by statute.” People v. M e yers, 43 Colo.App. 63, 64, 598 P.2d 526, 527 (1979).

¶ 24 Once the legislature establishes a statutory right of judicial review, “such review must be sought in strict compliance with the mandatory provisions of the statute,” or the court does not have jurisdiction “to act.” Mile High United Way, Inc. v. Bd. of Assessment Appeals, 801 P.2d 3, 5 (Colo.App.1990); accord Barber v. People, 127 Colo. 90, 95, 254 P.2d 431, 434 (1953)([I]n an action which is entirely statutory, the procedure therein prescribed is the measure of the power of the tribunal to which jurisdiction of causes arising under the statute is given.”).

B. History of the Pertinent Bond Statutes

¶ 25 The basic structure of our present-day bond statutes came into being in 1972. See Ch. 44, sec. 1, §§ 39–4–101 to –205, 1972 Sess. Laws 203–211. Section 39–4–204(1) authorized defendants to file petitions for review “in the appellate court to appeal trial court orders issued under sections 39–4–104 (“Bail bond—alternatives”), 39–4–107 (“Reduction or increase of bail – change in type of bond”), or 39–4–201 (“Bail after conviction”).

¶ 26 There was no analogue to today's section 16–4–105(3) in 1972. Section 39–4–103(2), which later became section 16–4–103(2), stated...

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