Life Behind Bars

Arapahoe Court ruling deems reduced sentencing for juveniles unconstitutional

A decision out of the 18th District Court earlier this month ruled that statutory provisions stemming from the passage of Senate Bill 181 last year deemed the legislation unconstitutional. Judge Carlos Samour’s ruling is based on the Colorado Constitution’s Special Legislation Clause, which stipulates that “where a general law can be made applicable, no special law shall be enacted.”

The case involves Curtis Brooks, who was charged as an adult and convicted of felony murder in 1997 for his involvement in a motor vehicle theft that resulted in the homicide of the car owner, Christopher Ramos.

Though Brooks fired a weapon as a diversion and did not aim at or harm Ramos, one of the codefendants did. Brooks was 15 years old at the time of the murder.

Brooks’ attorney Dru Nielsen did not comment on whether they plan to appeal the decision in their request for re-sentencing.

To read this story and other complete articles featured in the October 23, 2017 print edition of Law Week Colorado, copies are available for purchase online.