Owens v. CarlsonAnnotate this Case
The issue this case presented for the Colorado Supreme Court's review centered on the method of calculation employed by the Colorado Department of Corrections (“DOC”) to determine the parole eligibility date for Nathanael Owens, who was serving three consecutive prison sentences. There was no dispute that Colorado law required that Owens’s sentences be treated as a single continuous sentence for purposes of calculating his parole eligibility date. What complicated matters was that one of Owens’s sentences was subject to a statutory provision that rendered him parole eligible after serving 50% of the sentence, while the other two sentences are subject to a statutory provision that rendered him parole eligible after serving 75% of those sentences. The DOC applied the 75% rule to all three of Owens’s consecutive sentences, reasoning that two of them were subject to that rule. But, in so doing, it applied the 75% rule to the sentence that was subject to the 50% rule. A division of the court of appeals nevertheless approved this methodology. Because the division erroneously approved the non-hybrid methodology used by the DOC to calculate Owens’s parole eligibility date, the Supreme Court reversed. However, because the DOC has since recalculated Owens’s parole eligibility date, and because the new calculation was consistent with the Supreme Court's opinion, no further action was required. Accordingly, the Court remanded this case with instructions to simply return the case to the district court.