Colorado v. Barrios

H.J. completed her grocery shopping at a Target store in Arvada and walked to her car. Defendant-appellee, sixteen year old Dominic Barrios was also at the Target. After H.J. entered her vehicle, Barrios opened the back door, got in the back seat, put his arm around H.J.’s throat, pulled out a knife, and told her to drive. During the encounter, Barrios took money from H.J. and drove her car to several different locations before ending up at a secluded area, where he demanded that she undress, fondled her intimate parts, and forced her to fondle his. After driving to another isolated area, Barrios disabled H.J.’s phone and left her with her keys and her car. H.J. then drove to a friend’s house and contacted the police. Fingerprint evidence found on the car matched those for Barrios, who was found at his great-grandmother's home. At the police station, over the course of just under an hour, Barrios told police his version of what happened and corroborated much of what H.J. had told police. At times, Barrios disagreed with H.J.’s version of events, especially the allegations that he used a knife and sexually assaulted her. By the end of the interview, however, Barrios implicated himself in several serious offenses. Ultimately, the State charged Barrios as an adult with eighteen criminal counts, including kidnapping, aggravated robbery, and sexual assault. At issue before the Colorado Supreme Court was whether the police sufficiently advised Barrios and his legal guardian of his rights before he waived his Miranda rights and agreed to talk to the police, and whether his waiver was reliable under the totality of the circumstances. The trial court found that the prosecution failed to establish a reliable Miranda waiver for Barrios under section 19-2-511, C.R.S. (2018), and it ordered that his statements be suppressed. The Supreme Court held that the police detective complied with section 19-2-511 when he advised Barrios and his legal guardian prior to Barrios’s waiver and that, under the totality of the circumstances, the concerns identified by the trial court did not undermine the reliability of the waiver. Therefore, the Court reversed the suppression order, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Colorado v. Barrios" on Justia Law