Esquivel-Castillo v. Colorado

Petitioner Salvador Esquivel-Castillo appealed the court of appeals decision to affirm his conviction for felony murder. A jury acquitted him of a separate count of kidnapping, but convicted him of felony murder for a death caused during his commission or attempted commission of kidnapping the same victim, during the same charged timeframe, by a different statutorily qualifying act of kidnapping. The appellate court rejected petitioner's assertion that a more specific kidnapping charge necessarily limited the scope of the more generally-charged felony murder county to a charge of death caused in the court of or in furtherance of the commission of kidnapping by seizing and carrying the victim from one place to another, resulting in his having been convicted of a crime with which he had never been charged. After review, the Supreme Court affirmed: the crime of kidnapping alleged more generally as an element of felony murder was not limited to the specific alternative act of kidnapping alleged in the separate kidnapping count, and therefore jury instructions as to all statutory forms of kidnapping supported by the evidence did not constructively amend the felony murder charge. View "Esquivel-Castillo v. Colorado" on Justia Law