Imposition of Mandatory Parole Period

The supreme court recently decided Craig v. People, 986 P.2d 951 (Colo. 1999), in which it overruled People v. Sandoval, supra. In Craig, the supreme court held that cases involving post-conviction challenges to the imposition of a mandatory parole period require a two-part inquiry. First, the court must determine whether the defendant was explicitly promised a sentence that alters or eliminates the statutorily required mandatory parole period. Absent an express promise regarding mandatory pa role, the agreement will not be interpreted as providing for a sentence related to mandatory parole that is statutorily prohibited. However, if such an express promise was made and was a material part of the plea agreement, the defendant's plea is rendered invalid. Because such an agreement calls for an illegal sentence, the defendant would not be entitled to specific enforcement of the plea agreement. Craig v. People, supra. Second, the court must determine whether the defendant was adequately advised regarding the mandatory parole period. If the defendant received an inadequate advisement and the error was not harmless, the remedy is to reduce the defendant's sentence, provided such a modification would not result in an illegal sentence. If the defendant's sentence cannot be reduced, the only remedy for the improper advisement is to permit the defendant to withdraw his plea. Craig v. People, supra. Applying the principles announced in Craig and its companion case, Benavidez v. People, 986 P.2d 943 (Colo. 1999), we now turn to an analysis of defendant's claims.