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97C3A9542443F70F8725823200733DC5 Hearing Summary


Date Feb 12, 2018      
Location SCR 352

SB18-037 - Postponed Indefinitely

01:58:45 PM  

Senator Kagan, bill sponsor, explained SB18-037 concerning clarification of sentences for habitual criminals.  He reported that the bill attempts to remedy a serious problem regarding the sentencing of habitual offenders in the criminal justice system.  He provided examples of individuals who have received exceedingly long sentences under the current sentencing scheme for low-level felony crimes.  The bill removes provisions regarding the mandatory tripling of a sentence for certain offenses subject to habitual criminal statutes.  He also discussed the problems of plea bargains and trials when up against habitual criminal statutes. 

02:11:35 PM  

Cynthia Kowert, representing the Colorado Attorney General's Office, spoke in opposition to the bill.  She testified that defendants being charged with a third serious felony should receive commensurate punishments.  She answered questions from the committee about the little habitual statute, drug felonies, and long sentences for non-violent offenders.

02:22:45 PM  

Rich Orman, Chief Deputy District Attorney of the 18th Judicial District and Colorado District Attorneys' Council, testified in opposition to the bill.   He reported that there are a small number of habitual offenders in the prison system, and they represent the most serious cases. He relayed that judges already have the discretion to impose a lesser sentence and assured the committee that district attorneys are judicious with the application of the current habitual offender law.  He further explained the internal procedure a district attorney must follow to try someone as an habitual offender.

02:28:48 PM  

Dan May. District Attorney in the 4th Judicial Dstrict, testified against the bill.  He expressed concerns about sentencing reform bills when the crime rate is exploding.  He provided a history of past reforms and the impact on localities.  He emphasized that the habitual offenders serving prison time are there for serious crimes.  He answered questions from the committee about district attorney discretion, ethnicity and race, addiction, and current sentencing practices generally, and for habitual offenders, specifically. 



02:55:56 PM  

Fran Lanzer, representing Mothers Against Drunk Driving and Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance, spoke in opposition to the bill.  He discussed repeat drunk drivers and the need for increased penalties. 

02:59:19 PM  

Elizabeth Stone, representing herself, spoke in favor of the bill.  She testified that incarceration rates have skyrocketed, particularly since the war on drugs. She discussed mass incarceration, prison costs, and rehabilitation. 


03:06:27 PM  

Carrie Thompson, representing the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar, spoke in support of the bill.  She encouraged the committee to reconsider the value of excessively long sentences and provided examples of sentencing reforms in other states.  She further discussed the differences between felony filings and the crime rate.  


03:12:27 PM  

Lisa Wayne, representing the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar, testified in support of the bill.  She discussed racial disparity, implicit bias, and problems with relying on prosecutorial discretion.  


03:34:04 PM  

Tristan Gorman, representing the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar, spoke in support of the bill. He discussed incarceration costs and impact on taxpayers. 

03:39:37 PM  

Senator Kagan gave closing remarks.  Discussion followed regarding crime thresholds and habitual status. 

03:46:35 PM
Motion Refer Senate Bill 18-037 to the Committee of the Whole.
Moved Kagan
Coram No
Fields Yes
Kagan Yes
Cooke No
Gardner No
YES: 2   NO: 3   EXC: 0   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  FAIL

03:46:59 PM
Motion Postpone Senate Bill 18-037 indefinitely.
Moved Cooke
Coram Yes
Fields No
Kagan No
Cooke Yes
Gardner Yes
Final YES: 3   NO: 2   EXC: 0   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  PASS