Current Law: First degree kidnapping (CRS 18-3-301) can be either a class 1 felony, or a class 2 felony. Second degree kidnapping (CRS 18-3-302) can be either a class 2 felony, or a class 3 felony, or a class 4 felony.
I. Class 1 felony kidnapping requires an intent to force the victim or another to make a concession to secure a release, and a serious bodily injury or death to the victim, but there is no death penalty if the person is liberated alive prior to the conviction. It must be forcible, entice or persuades, or an imprisonment or forcible secreting. The punishment is life in prison without parole or death (except as noted).
II. One kind of Class 2 felony kidnapping requires a knowing seizure without consent or lawful justification if the person kidnapped is the victim of a sex offense or a robbery. The punishment is 16-48 years in prison plus 5 years of mandatory parole.
III. Another kind Class 2 felony kidnapping requires an intent to force the victim or another to make a concession to secure a release, and applies if the victim is liberated unharmed. The punishment is 16-48 years in prison plus 5 years of mandatory parole.
IV. Class 3 felony kidnapping requires an intent to sell, trade or barter the victim for consideration, either by knowingly seizing someone without their consent or lawful justification, or takes, entices or decoys a child not his own with an intent to keep a child from a parent or guardian. The punishment is 8-24 years in prison, plus five years mandatory parole.
V. Another kind of Class 3 felony kidnapping involves knowingly seizing someone without their consent or lawful justification with a deadly weapon or imitation deadly weapon or representation that the perpetrator is armed, but not in a robbery or rape. The punishment is 8-24 years in prison, plus five years mandatory parole.
VI. Knowingly seizing someone without consent or lawful justification not in the categories above is a class 4 felony. Thus, this is without weapons, rape, serious bodily injury, robbery, an intent to force a concession to secure a release, or an intent to sell, trade or barter the victim. The punishment is 4-12 years in prison plus 3 years mandatory parole.
There are about 348 people in prison in Colorado for kidnapping. Ten are serving life sentences (presumably for class 1 felony kidnapping). The average sentence of those in for class 2 felony kidnapping is 31.3 years.
Proposal: Kidnapping – Clarification and Revision of Offense Grading.
Repeal CRS 18-3-201 and 18-3-302 as enacted.
First Degree Kidnapping would be CRS 18-3-301 would provide in a single section for all forms of kidnapping other than felony 4 kidnapping in CRS 18-3-302.
Felony one status would apply in any case where the victim was killed, or has not been liberated alive at the time of the conviction.
Felony two status would apply in cases of rape or serious bodily injury or robbery (since serious bodily injury should be less serious than death or likely death, but more serious than cases where the victim is not harmed).
Felony three status would apply in cases of (1) an intent to force the victim or another to make a concession to secure a release, (2) an intent to sell, trade or barter the victim for consideration, (3) use of a deadly weapon or imitation deadly weapon or representation that the perpetrator is armed, (4) an intent to physically harm the victim that does not in fact produce serious bodily injury.
Second Degree Kidnapping would be CRS 18-3-302 and would simply say: “(1) Any person who knowingly seizes and carries any person from one place to another, without his consent and without lawful justification commits second degree kidnapping. (2) Second degree kidnapping is a class 4 felony.”
Why? The difficult part of the statute is distinguishing between Class III cases and class IV cases, which describe very similar offenses but have very different punishments and opts for the lesser punishment in these casees. Another problem is that if there is no intent to force a concession, but there is serious bodily injury (e.g. seizing someone to beat them up without weapons, without even telling anyone), the offense level is a mere class 4 felony. This clarifies which statute applies to which case and increases punishments for serious bodily injury cases.