People v. Robertson

In People v. Robertson, 56 P.3d 121 (Colo. Ct. App. 2002), the State of Colorado lodged a detainer against a prisoner serving a sentence in Oregon. Id. at 122. After the prisoner invoked his right to prompt disposition of the charges under the IAD, Colorado, on its own motion, withdrew the detainer because it was not prepared to go forward with a trial at that time. Id. However, Colorado did not dismiss the underlying charges and, in fact, filed another detainer the day before the prisoner was to be released from his confinement in Oregon, more than 180 days after he had filed his request under the IAD. Id. In response to the prisoner's motion to dismiss, Colorado argued that once the detainer was removed, the IAD ceased to apply, notwithstanding that the charges were not dismissed. Id. at 123. Upholding the trial court's dismissal of the charges against the prisoner, the Colorado Court of Appeals first looked to the plain language of the IAD: Section 24-60-501, art. III(a) provides that once a detainer "has been lodged" and the underlying complaint remains "pending," defendant has a right to demand disposition within 180 days. The present perfect tense, "has been lodged" indicates that an event occurred in the past prior to other events and implies that once the event has occurred - here the lodging of the detainer - certain consequences result. In this case, defendant obtained the right to demand disposition of the charges. The statute does not require that the detainer remain pending, or that it continue to be lodged, only that it "has been lodged." We conclude that the withdrawal of the detainer does not change the fact that a detainer "has been lodged." Similarly, under 24-60-501, art. III(d), "any request for final disposition made by a prisoner pursuant to paragraph (a) hereof shall operate as a request for final disposition of all untried indictments, informations, or complaints on the basis of which detainers have been lodged against the prisoner." Again, the IAD refers to detainers that "have been lodged," indicating that a defendant's request is not contingent on the detainer being currently in place. Moreover, under this section, a defendant's request for disposition is directed to the "untried indictments, informations, or complaints" and not the detainer. Hence, the prosecution's withdrawal of the detainer by itself is not responsive to the request. Id.