October 31, 2011

Colorado Court of Appeals 10-13-11 Criminal Law Decision - People v. Ortega

People v. Ortega            35(c) / F3 Child Abuse / Extraordinary Risk Crimes / Crimes of Violence
Facts: Mr. Ortega pled to a class 3 felony child abuse, which normally carries a sentence of 10-32 years in prison with 5 years of parole. However, Mr. Ortega entered into a plea agreement with a stipulated range of 15 to 20 years in prison. The trial court sentenced Mr. Ortega to 19 years. Subsequently, Mr. Ortega filed a 35(c) claiming the trial court illegally sentenced him. The trial court summarily denied his motion, and Mr. Ortega filed a pro se appeal.
Issue: Whether the trial court imposed an illegal sentence upon Mr. Ortega?
Held: No.
Reasoning: With Judge Taubman as author and Judges Roman and Booras concurring, the Court of Appeals reasoned that because Mr. Ortega pled to an extraordinary risk crime that required a crime of violence sentencing range of 10-32 years, the trial court did not impose an illegal sentence. Further, the sentence of 19 years imposed by the trial court fell within the range agreed upon by Mr. Ortega. Finally, Mr. Ortega signed and initialed the plea agreement evincing that he voluntarily and knowing entered the plea. 

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