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Colorado Supreme Court deems post-sentencing penalty OK

Today’s blog post highlights two Colorado criminal appeals cases resulting in a notable state Supreme Court ruling that addresses sentencing punishment.

Both those matters involved penalties imposed on defendants convicted of possession of a controlled substance in felony drug cases.

The convicted parties were unhappy with the result, and for a reason flatly unrelated to the outcomes delivered on their sentencing dates.

Their displeasure was focused on this: the judge’s later decision to tack on additional post-sentencing monetary penalties. The defendants argued that those after-the-fact impositions violated their constitutional rights at both the federal and state level. They specifically called out the charges – principally an exaction entailing a drug offender surcharge – as unlawfully prosecuting them twice for the same offense.

Colorado’s highest court saw it differently. The tribunal’s decision and supportive rationale are spotlighted by the publication Colorado Politics, which weighed in on the case in an article earlier this week. That news outlet underscored the court’s ruling from last week that “monetary surcharges added to an offender’s sentence after their sentencing hearing do not violate the Constitution.”

The article does not state the precise penalty amount levied on the defendants, but notes that a post-sentencing drug offender surcharge can be as high as $4,500 in a given case. The bulk of the surcharge fee ostensibly goes toward correctional treatment programs.

A Colorado criminal sentencing outcome can easily include multiple penalties ranging from incarceration to heavy fines. The above-cited post-sentencing surcharge is a prominent example of the latter.

Questions concerning any aspect of a Colorado criminal charge or penalty can be addressed to a proven Denver legal defense team.

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