H. Michael Steinberg has 36 years of experience practicing Colorado criminal law. Mr. Steinberg strives to stay current with the ever changing aspects of criminal law issues and updates resulting in his extensive knowledge of successful criminal defense as well as appellate work. He is also an active member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar Association, the Colorado Trial Lawyer's Association, and the Colorado and Arapahoe Bar Associations.
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Colorado DA Fails To Pursue a Revocation of a Deferred Judgment

By H. Michael Steinberg Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer

The Colorado Deferred Judgement and Sentence

A deferred judgment and sentence is almost always offered to a first offender – a person who has no criminal history.  It provides for that person, after a period of probation, to withdraw his or her plea of guilty and to seal – (clear) their criminal history after the successful completion of the deferred.

Revocation Of A Colorado Deferred Judgment and Sentence

Revocation Of The Deferred Judgment and Sentence means that the conviction that has been deferred by the State is imposed and becomes permanent.  This is the worst possible result of the person who has accepted the deferred judgment agreement.

The revocation of a deferred judgment and sentence was at stake in the Colorado Case of People v. Walker was decided (2011)

In the Walker case, Walker’s Defendant’s Deferred Judgment agreement was revoked more than 6 years after it should have expired.  Although a complaint to revoke the deferred was filed – it was not sent to the last known address of the Defendant.

Walker appealed the decision to revoke his deferred – he won that appeal – and a new rule was born.

In Walker the District Attorney failed to exercise due diligence in trying to locate Walker to advise him of the revocation complaint. Walker lived locally in Colorado and had never moved from that home address during all of that time.

The DA asked for an arrest warrant for Walker’s arrest and claimed to have mailed a copy of the motion to revoke to defense counsel.

SIX YEARS (6) years after the deferred judgment period ended, the Defendant was arrested on the outstanding warrant.

The Colorado Court of Appeals held that the DA “abandoned” the motion to revoke Ms. Walker’s deferred sentence. The Court reasoned that the time involved 6 – years – could not be excluded from the period in which to prosecute the motion to revoke because the Defendant did not absent herself from the jurisdiction.

More importantly, the Colorado Court of Appeals held that the DA did not make reasonable efforts to give notice to either Ms. Walker or her defense counsel and that the prosecution does not make reasonable efforts to procure the defendant or defendant’s counsel, then the claim or motion will be deemed abandoned.