BY FREDA MIKLINGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER
Cherry Hills Village City Council Bill 4 of 2019, passed unanimously on first reading on July 16, was adopted to bring CHV into compliance with a new state law, HB 19-1148, one of 454 bills signed into law by Governor Polis during the recently completed 2019 legislative session.
The state law was enacted with little fanfare on March 28 and takes effect on August 2. The language of the bill states that it changes “the maximum jail sentence for certain crimes from one year to three hundred sixty-four days.”
According to the nonpartisan Legislative Council Staff of the Colorado legislature, “convictions of one-year trigger a federal immigration action for offenders with immigrant status and under certain circumstances, a county jail may be asked to hold an immigrant until they are transferred into U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody. While this bill is not anticipated to impact the number of misdemeanor cases or convictions it is assumed that the number of plea bargains will increase by an unknown amount, because under current law defendants are more likely to challenge misdemeanor charges in court to avoid a potential one-year sentence and the federal immigration action. Overall, such impacts are expected to be minimal.”
The types of crimes to which this law applies are any violations of municipal ordinances which are heard in municipal courts in Colorado and currently provide for a possible jail sentence of up to one year, along with certain drug misdemeanors and petty offenses. According to CHV City Attorney Kathie Gluckenberger, there are several sections of the city’s municipal code that permit the municipal court to impose a sentence of up to one year in jail, though Gluckenberger said that she believes no one has ever been sentenced to one year in jail in CHV, in response to a question from Mayor Stewart.
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