The People filed this original proceeding under C.A.R. 21 for relief in the nature of mandamus. They assert that the respondent judge's imposition of a sentence within the presumptive range contravenes section 18-1-105(9)(a)(IV), 8 C.R.S. (1985 Supp.), which requires that the defendant be sentenced within the aggravated range. We issued a rule to show cause and now make the rule absolute.
Defendant Albert Van Matthews was charged in April 1984 with aggravated robbery
The respondent judge, over the prosecutor's objection, imposed a five-year sentence upon the defendant for the aggravated robbery. That sentence is within the presumptive range for class 3 felonies, such as aggravated robbery.
Section 18-1-105(9)(a)(IV), 8 C.R.S. (1985 Supp.), provides as follows:
The People contend that the plain statutory language constitutes a legislative mandate requiring the respondent judge to sentence the defendant to a term of incarceration greater than the maximum presumptive term, due to the existence of the extraordinary aggravating circumstance enumerated in section 18-1-105(9)(a)(IV). They argue that section 18-1-105(9)(a) does not authorize a sentencing court to avoid the requirements of that section by a consideration of mitigating factors.
The respondent judge cites section 18-1-105(6), 8 C.R.S. (1985 Supp.), in support of his position that a sentence within the presumptive range was permissible. Section 18-1-105(6) states in pertinent part:
The respondent, noting that section 18-1-105 does not precisely articulate the sentencing authority of a trial court when both
Our primary task in construing a statute is to ascertain and give effect to the intent of the General Assembly. E.g., Engelbrecht v. Hartford Accident & Indemnity Co., 680 P.2d 231 (Colo.1984); ITT Diversified Credit Corp. v. Couch, 669 P.2d 1355 (Colo.1983). Constructions which defeat the obvious legislative intent should be avoided. E.g., Tacorante v. People, 624 P.2d 1324 (Colo.1981); People v. Meyers, 182 Colo. 21, 510 P.2d 430 (1973). To discern that intent, a court should look first to the language of the statute. Colorado Public Interest Research Group, Inc. v. Train, 507 F.2d 743 (10th Cir.1974), cert. granted, 421 U.S. 998, 95 S.Ct. 2393, 44 L.Ed.2d 664 (1975), rev'd on other grounds, 426 U.S. 1, 96 S.Ct. 1938, 48 L.Ed.2d 434 (1976); People ex. rel. Dunbar v. Trinidad State Junior College, 184 Colo. 305, 520 P.2d 736 (1974). Words and phrases should be given effect according to their plain and ordinary meaning. E.g., Engelbrecht, 680 P.2d at 223; People v. Lewis, 680 P.2d 226 (Colo.1984). If the language is clear and the intent appears with reasonable certainty, there is no need to resort to other rules of statutory construction. Train, 507 F.2d at 746; see Crestview Water & Sanitation District v. Board of Directors of Metropolitan Denver Sewage Disposal District No. 1, 640 P.2d 265 (Colo.App.1981).
To reasonably effectuate the legislative intent, a statute must be read and considered as a whole. E.g., R & F Enterprises, Inc. v. Board of County Commissioners of Adams County, 199 Colo. 137, 606 P.2d 64 (1980); Public Employees' Retirement Association v. Greene, 195 Colo. 575, 580 P.2d 385 (1978). Where possible, the statute should be interpreted so as to give consistent, harmonious, and sensible effect to all its parts. Massey v. District Court, 180 Colo. 359, 506 P.2d 128 (1973); see Travelers Indemnity Co. v. Barnes, 191 Colo. 278, 552 P.2d 300 (1976). If separate clauses within a statute may be reconciled by one construction but would conflict under a different interpretation, the construction which results in harmony rather than inconsistency should be adopted. Alpert Corp. v. State Department of Highways, 199 Colo. 4, 603 P.2d 944 (1979); Mooney v. Kuiper, 194 Colo. 477, 573 P.2d 538 (1978).
By itself, the language of section 18-1-105(9)(a)(IV) is susceptible of only one interpretation. It provides that the presence of one or more of the enumerated extraordinary aggravating circumstances "shall require" a court to sentence a defendant to a term of incarceration within the aggravated range. The generally accepted and familiar meanings of both "shall" and "require" indicate that these terms are mandatory.
When subsection (9)(a) is considered in conjunction with subsection (6), however, the sentencing power of a trial court is less clearly delineated. Subsection
We are persuaded that the latter construction of the statute is required, for several reasons. First, the plain meaning of the relevant language supports such a construction. Just as "shall" and "require" are most commonly mandatory in effect, "may" is usually permissive or directory.
Second, the alternate interpretation is the one which best reconciles the two provisions, giving the maximum possible efficacy to both. The construction urged by the respondents fails to give effect to the mandatory nature of the language in subsection (9)(a). The construction we have adopted gives effect to subsection (9)(a) by requiring imposition of a sentence within the aggravated range when any one or more of the aggravating factors specified in that subsection exist, and likewise gives effect to subsection (6) by allowing a sentence outside the presumptive range to be imposed when other aggravating, or mitigating, factors are present.
We are not unmindful of the rule of lenity which requires that penal statutes, including those pertaining to sentencing, be strictly construed in favor of the accused. E.g., People v. Lowe, 660 P.2d 1261 (Colo.1983); see People v. Luciano, 662 P.2d 480 (Colo.1983). However, the rule of statutory interpretation which demands that words be given their fair and ordinary meaning applies to penal as well as non-penal statutes, see Colorado v. United States, 219 F.2d 474 (10th Cir.1954), and giving statutory words their full meaning in the context in which they are used does not violate the rule of lenity. Sheeley v. People, 54 Colo. 136, 129 P. 201 (1913). Moreover, the rule of strict construction of criminal statutes should not be used to defeat the evident intention of the legislature. Olinyk v. People, 642 P.2d 490 (Colo. 1982); Croswell v. People, 74 Colo. 547, 223 P. 51 (1924). See generally C. Sands, 3 Sutherland Statutory Construction § 59.06 & § 59.08 (4th ed. 1974).
The rule is made absolute. The respondents are directed to vacate the defendant's sentence and resentence him in accordance with the principles expressed herein.