Articles Posted in Colorado Supreme Court

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Petitioner Austin Veith pleaded guilty to theft and securities fraud. He asked the trial court to sentence him to probation instead of a term of incarceration. The trial court rejected his request for probation with no incarceration and sentenced Veith to ten years of incarceration on the theft count, and twenty-five years of probation on the securities fraud count. Veith did not object when the judge announced his sentence.  But, he did not sign the probation order acknowledging and accepting the terms and conditions of his sentence of probation. Instead, he filed a motion to correct his sentence pursuant to Crim. P. 35(a), arguing that the probationary portion of his sentence must be vacated because he did not consent to it. The trial court denied the motion, and Veith appealed.  The court of appeals affirmed in part and reversed in part, concluding that Veith had consented to the terms and conditions of the sentence of probation by requesting probation prior to the hearing, but that his consent did not include certain terms of probation added by the court. As a result, the court of appeals remanded the case to the trial court to remove the terms of probation from his sentence that Veith had not requested before sentencing.I t did not order any modification of the prison sentence. The Colorado Supreme Court granted certiorari to determine the legality of Veith’s sentence of probation, and reversed the appellate court's judgment. The Supreme Court held that a trial court cannot impose a sentence of probation without the defendant’s consent. In this case, Veith consented to probation in lieu of incarceration; therefore, the trial court exceeded the scope of Veith’s consent when it imposed a ten-year sentence of incarceration in addition to probation. The trial court lacked authority to impose the sentence of probation.  Accordingly, the Court vacated Veith’s sentence in its entirety, reversed the judgment of the court of appeals, and remanded the case to that court to return the case to the trial court for resentencing consistent with Veith’s plea agreement. View "Veith v. Colorado" on Justia Law

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Respondent Steve Taylor invested $3 million in several investment companies operated by Sean Mueller. Unbeknownst to Taylor, the companies were part of a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme. The "Mueller Funds" received approximately $150 million in investments, and paid out a little less than $90 million to investors before collapsing. Taylor happened to receive approximately $3.4 million (a return of his invested principal plus net profit) prior to the collapse. Other investors were not as fortunate, losing a sum total of approximately $72 million. In 2010, Mueller ultimately pled guilty to securities fraud, and was sentenced to a total of 40 years in prison. In addition, he was ordered to pay over $64 million in restitution. Petitioner C. Randel Lewis was appointed as Receiver for the Mueller Funds, tasked with collecting Mueller's assets to his creditors and defrauded investors. The Receiver and Taylor signed a tolling agreement that extended the time period within which the Receiver could bring suit against Taylor in an attempt to recover assets. The eventual complaint sought to recover the net profit Taylor received. Taylor received his last payout in April 2007, and moved for summary judgment claiming the Receiver's claim was time barred due to the applicable statute of limitations. The trial court considered the tolling agreement and ruled in the Receiver's favor. Taylor appealed, and the court of appeals reversed, interpreting the term "extinguished," as used in 38-8-110(1), C.R.S. (2015), imposed a jurisdictional time limit on filing a claim, and that the parties could not toll that limit by agreement. The Supreme Court concluded that 38-8-110(1)'s time limitation could indeed be tolled by express agreement. The Court reversed the appellate court and remanded the case for further proceedings. View "Lewis v. Taylor" on Justia Law