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h_jud_2016a_2016-03-24t13:36:54z0 Hearing Summary

Date: 03/24/2016



Final

BILL SUMMARY for HB16-1309



HOUSE COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY


Votes: View--> Action Taken:
Refer House Bill 16-1309 to the Committee of the W PASS







01:37 PM -- HB16-1309



The committee was called to order. A quorum was present. Representative Lontine, prime sponsor, presented House Bill 16-1309, concerning a defendant's right to counsel in certain cases considered by municipal courts. Representative Lontine explained the effect of the bill and discussed its need. Representative Lontine responded to questions regarding the impact of the bill on local control and the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Rothgery v. Gillespie County. Discussion ensued regarding jurisprudence on the issues of the right to counsel and local control. The following persons testified regarding HB 16-1309:



01:50 PM --
Mr. Jason Meyers, representing the City of Fort Morgan, testified in opposition to the bill. Mr. Meyers discussed the impact of the bill on rural municipalities, and questioned the necessity of the legislation. Mr. Meyers responded to questions regarding the number of offenses in Fort Morgan that are jailable offenses, and the volume of such offenses handled by the courts in Fort Morgan. Mr. Meyers responded to questions regarding costs to municipalities associated with abiding by the bill, and potential constitutional violations for failure to provide counsel.





02:03 PM



Discussion continued regarding the provision of counsel by municipalities in criminal cases. Mr. Meyers responded to questions regarding the process observed in Fort Morgan for criminal cases, and what constitutes a critical phase of a criminal proceeding.



02:14 PM --
Judge Anne Stavig, representing the City of Lakewood, testified in opposition to the bill. Judge Stavig discussed the timing of court appearances and bail opportunities for criminal charges, and noted a potential unintended consequence if the bill were to pass. Judge Stavig responded to questions regarding action taken at initial hearings for criminal charges. Discussion returned to what constitutes a critical proceeding.





02:28 PM



Discussion continued regarding the significance of the initial phase of a criminal proceeding, the decisions made at the initial phase, and the constitutionality of providing counsel to defendants for the initial phase. Judge Stavig reiterated her objections to HB 16-1309. Judge Stavig responded to questions regarding the steps taken during an advisement process. Discussion ensued regarding the caseload in Judge Stavig's district as compared to other jurisdictions in the state.





02:46 PM



Judge Stavig continued to respond to questions regarding the criminal cases handled in her courtroom, and the advisements she issues to defendants during an initial hearing. Judge Stavig responded to further questions regarding how indigency is determined in her courtroom.



02:56 PM --
Ms. Tamara Wolfe, representing the Colorado Organization for Municipal Court Administration, testified in opposition to HB 16-1309. Ms. Wolfe discussed the costs to be borne local courts as a result of the bill's passage. Discussion ensued regarding the fiscal impact of the bill. Ms. Wolfe responded to questions regarding the fiscal impact of the bill in her jurisdiction, and the number of cases handled by her jurisdiction that fall within the scope of the bill.



03:01 PM --
Judge Robert Frick, representing the Colorado Municipal Judges Association, testified in opposition to the bill. Judge Frick discussed his service as a part-time municipal judge, the types of cases he sees in this capacity, and how they are handled in his court. He discussed the difficulties that small municipal courts would face in complying with HB 16-1309. Judge Frick responded to questions regarding at which point in the judicial process a defendant has a right to counsel, and whether a video court appearance could constitute an initial court appearance.





03:17 PM



Judge Frick responded to questions regarding what constitutes a jailable offense at the municipal level, and the reasons for granting bail for municipal offenses.



03:20 PM --
Mr. Richard Orf, representing the Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado, testified in opposition to the bill. Mr. Orf discussed the fiscal impact of the bill on small municipalities.



03:22 PM --
Ms. Carrie Thompson, representing the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar, testified in support of the bill. Ms. Thompson read letters authored by those not in attendance supporting the bill. Ms. Thompson discussed the applicability of the Rothgery decision, and the impact of pretrial incarceration on future outcomes. Ms. Thompson discussed the effectiveness of different types of bail arrangements. Ms. Thompson responded to questions regarding when counsel must be provided to a defendant from a constitutional perspective.





03:37 PM



Discussion continued regarding when the right of representation in a criminal proceeding attaches from a constitutional perspective. Discussion ensued regarding arrests for failure to appear in court.



03:45 PM --
Ms. Elizabeth Gillespie, representing the City of Aurora, testified in support of HB 16-1309. Ms. Gillespie addressed questions raised and assertions made during earlier testimony. Ms. Gillespie discussed the type of advice she is able to dispense to her clientele during initial court appearances, and addressed constitutional issues raised by the bill. Ms. Gillespie responded to questions regarding the population in Aurora that is not granted personal recognizance bonds.



03:57 PM --
Ms. Denise Maes and Ms. Rebecca Wallace, representing the ACLU, testified in support of the bill. Ms. Maes discussed the circumstances under which legal counsel must be supplied in a criminal case, and variation in how municipalities handle initial court appearances. Ms. Maes rebutted certain arguments made by the bill's opponents. Discussion ensued regarding the fiscal impact of the bill, including costs to be borne by municipalities as a result of the bill. Discussion followed regarding the criticality of the initial appearance of a criminal defendant in a municipal proceeding.





04:10 PM



Discussion ensued regarding the constitutional issues associated with HB 16-1309. Ms. Maes responded to questions regarding why the public defender statute requires a finding of indigency before a public defender is assigned, and why the ACLU has not pursued litigation on constitutional grounds that meets the objectives of the bill. Ms. Wallace and Ms. Maes responded to questions regarding what constitutes a reasonable amount of time for providing counsel to defendants.



04:22 PM --
Mr. Tom Raynes, representing the Colorado District Attorneys' Council, testified on the bill from a neutral perspective. Mr. Raynes addressed assertions made during earlier testimony. Mr. Raynes responded to questions regarding the impact of legislation passed during previous legislative sessions in reaction to the Rothgery decision.





04:27 PM



Discussion ensued regarding the potential for including in the bill an indigency determination requirement to trigger assignment of counsel for an initial appearance by a defendant on a municipal charge. No amendments were offered to HB 16-1309. Various committee members provided their positions on HB 16-1309. Representative Lontine provided closing remarks in support of the bill.

BILL: HB16-1309
TIME: 04:42:36 PM
MOVED: Lee
MOTION: Refer House Bill 16-1309 to the Committee of the Whole. The motion passed on a vote of 6-5.
SECONDED: Salazar
VOTE
Carver
No
Court
Yes
Dore
No
Foote
Yes
Lawrence
No
Lundeen
No
Melton
Yes
Salazar
Yes
Willett
No
Lee
Yes
Kagan
Yes
Final YES: 6 NO: 5 EXC: 0 ABS: 0 FINAL ACTION: PASS







04:58 PM



The committee recessed.


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