Colorado Legislative Council Staff



State General Fund Expenditure Impact

Local Expenditure Impact

Drafting Number:

Prime Sponsor(s):

LLS 98-628

Rep. Adkins


Bill Status:

Fiscal Analyst:

February 10, 1998

House Judiciary

Susan Colling (866-4784)



Summary of Legislation


FY 1998/99

FY 1999/2000

State Revenues

General Fund

Other Fund



State Expenditures

General Fund

Other Fund

Expenditure Increase*

Expenditure Increase*

FTE Position Change



Local Government ImpactNone

* See State Expenditure Impact Section below.

            The bill specifies the information and materials that both the prosecuting attorney and the defendant must exchange when the prosecuting attorney has filed a statement of intent to seek the death penalty in class 1 felony cases. The bill also specifies the time frame in which the exchange of information and materials shall occur.

            At the prosecutor’s request, the bill requires the court at the sentencing hearing to order the defendant to undergo a mental health examination if the defendant intends to call a witness to testify as to the defendant’s mental condition. This would not be required if the defendant has already undergone an examination that addresses the defendant’s mental condition with regard to mitigating factors that may be raised at the sentencing hearing.

            The bill creates a continuing duty of both the prosecuting attorney and the defendant to disclose the specified information and materials and requires either party to disclose additional information that is subject to disclosure. Further, the bill allows the court, on a showing of extraordinary circumstances, to grant an extension of time for disclosure of information and materials and authorizes the court to impose order and sanctions for violating the disclosure requirements.

            The bill will take effect upon signature of the Governor and shall apply to offenses committed on or after July 1, 1995.


State Expenditure Impact

            The bill would have an impact to state General Fund expenditures, however, the fiscal impact is difficult to determine. The bill requires both the District Attorney (DA) and the defendant to provide various pieces of information for the sentencing hearing to the other party. The DA must provide such information to the defendant within five days after the return of a guilty verdict, and the defendant must provide such information to the DA within 20 days after the return of a guilty verdict. Such information must include: a list of aggravating factors; a list of witnesses; the written and recorded statements of potential witnesses; any report, notes or recorded statements of potential experts; a list of books, papers, documents, photographs, or tangible objects that may be introduced at the sentencing hearing; and all material that mitigates or negates the finding of any aggravating factor.

            According to discussions with the State Public Defender (PD) and the State Court Administrators Office, the provisions of the bill would have an impact on the State Public Defender and on the trial courts. On average, a death penalty case takes approximately one year to conduct, from filing to sentencing. Currently, the DA provides information concerning aggravating circumstances that may be used at the sentencing phase of a case to the PD in the early stages of the case. This allows the PD to investigate the aggravating factors and the aggravating witnesses, and litigate motions as to the admissibility of evidence. The bill would reduce the amount of time that the PD is able to prepare mitigating evidence and witnesses, and investigate the proposed aggravating factors provided by the DA. Whereas, currently the PD has an extensive amount of time to do this, the bill would reduce the amount of time for the PD to prepare for the sentencing hearing. This shorter time frame may result in the PD requesting continuances in order to sufficiently prepare for the sentencing hearing.

            Additionally, the bill would have an impact to the Judicial Department. Since the bill allows the DA to disclose information (listed above) that may be used in death penalty sentencing hearings no later than five days after the verdict, the bill poses the risk of delaying the sentencing hearing. Although the bill allows the court to grant an extension of time to comply with the requirements set forth in the bill, this may create a disruption in the docket of the trial judge and the dockets of the sentencing panel judges. Although it is assumed that few cases each year involve the death penalty, this bill introduces the potential for delays in the process. This fiscal note cannot ascertain whether these potential delays will significantly affect state or local government expenditures.

Local Government Impact

            The bill would have an impact on expenditures to the District Attorney’s offices at the local level. The potential delays that may result from the provisions of the bill would create an impact that cannot be determined.

Spending Authority

            This fiscal note indicates that no additional spending authority or appropriations would be required for FY 1998-99.

Departments Contacted

            Alternate Defense Counsel

            Department of Law


            State Public Defender