December 9, 2011

Colorado Court of Appeals - 12-8-11 criminal decision - People v. Poage

People v. Poage             Failing to De-Register as a Sex Offender
Facts: Mr. Poage got evicted from his home where he previously registered. Because he was homeless, he did not have any address to re-register. So, he never registered any address but his initial address. An Adams County Deputy with not enough to do, checks on the address, finds no one living there (because of the eviction), and the prosecution subsequently charged failing to register and failing to de-register. At a hearing where the defense asked for a bill of particulars, the prosecution opted to only proceed on failing to de-register. However, Mr. Poage testified that he never moved out of Adams County. Further, the Court of Appeals found that the prosecution never presented any evidence that Mr. Poage moved out of Adams County (Appeals panel - Judges Roman, Taubman, and Booras with Judge Roman writing the opinion). Nevertheless, the trial court denied the motion for judgment of acquittal, and the jury convicted Mr. Poage of failing to de-register. The Court of Appeals vacated the conviction.
Issue:  Whether the prosecution must show, under the de-registration section, that a person moved out of the jurisdiction?
Held: Yes.
Reasoning: The Court of Appeals read the de-registration, section C.R.S. 18-3-412.5 (1)(i) - “Failure to complete a cancellation of registration form and file the form with the local law enforcement agency of the jurisdiction in which the person will no longer reside,” - as any normal red blooded human being would – that jurisdiction does not mean house, home, or apartment. Jurisdiction in subsection (i) means out of the jurisdiction.  Thus, the Court of Appeals held that only when a person moves out of the jurisdiction, does the statute then require the person to de-register. Therefore, the Court of Appeals vacated Mr. Poage’s conviction, and case dismissed.
Adam Mueller represented Mr. Poage on appeal and Emily Lieberman represented the man in trial. Both did a helluva job.

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