Attorney General Suthers Hails Colorado Supreme Court Decision In Awarding Prejudgment Interest

DENVER - The Colorado Supreme Court unanimously announced today in Roberts v. People that a trial court must award prejudgment interest to victims as part of probation for anyone found guilty of fraud or any other financial crime.

"Today’s decision is a great victory for the victims of financial crimes," said Suthers. "The decision makes the offender responsible for any of the economic setback incurred by the victim regardless of when the judgment is made."

Last year, the Court of Appeals concluded that an award of prejudgment interest, which compensates victims for the loss of use of money from the time the money is stolen to the time a restitution award is entered, is within the trial court’s sentencing authority and discretion. C.R.S. 18-1.3-602 (3)(a) defines restitution as "any pecuniary loss suffered by a victim, and includes, but is not limited to all out-of-pocket expenses, interest, loss of use of money. . .and other losses. . .caused by an offender’s conduct and that can be reasonably calculated and recompensed in money."

The Colorado Supreme Court held that not only is it within the trial court’s discretion to award prejudgment interest, it is the court’s obligation to do so under the statute. The Court also determined that the rate of prejudgment interest was within the trial court’s discretion.

Roberts v. People is captioned 05SC140.

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