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In light of the evidence presented at trial and the instructions actually provided to the jury, the Colorado Supreme Court concluded there was no reasonable possibility that the trial court’s failure to instruct on reckless second degree assault contributed to the defendant Darren Roman’s conviction of first degree assault, and any error in that regard would therefore have been harmless. The State sought review of the court of appeals’ judgment reversing Roman’s conviction for first degree assault. The trial court instructed the jury on the lesser included offense of second degree assault committed by intentionally causing bodily injury with a deadly weapon, but it denied Roman’s request for an additional lesser-included-offense instruction on second degree assault committed by recklessly causing serious bodily injury with a deadly weapon. The court of appeals reversed, concluding both that the trial court erred in denying Roman’s requested additional lesser-included-offense instruction and that the error was not harmless. The Supreme Court reversed the court of appeals. View "Colorado v. Roman" on Justia Law

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Jesus Flores-Heredia pled guilty to inducement and conspiracy to sell and possess with intent to sell a schedule II controlled substance, and he received a one-year deferred judgment in 1990. Although he successfully completed the deferred judgment in 1991, no court ever ordered his plea withdrawn or the action against him dismissed pursuant to section 18-1.3-102(2), C.R.S. (2016). In 2014, Flores-Heredia filed a motion to withdraw his plea pursuant to Crim. P. 32(d). The district court concluded that because no order had been entered withdrawing Flores-Heredia’s plea and dismissing the charge under section 18-1.3-102(2), it would enter such an order. The Colorado Supreme Court found under the plain language of Rule 32(d), there must be a “plea” to “withdraw.” Here, there was no such plea to withdraw, because the plea was previously withdrawn pursuant to section 18-1.3-102(2). Nothing in Rule 32(d) authorized a district court to withdraw an already-withdrawn plea. The Supreme Court affirmed the district court's judgment. View "Flores-Heredia v. Colorado" on Justia Law

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Jose Espino-Paez pled guilty to the use of a schedule II controlled substance and received a deferred judgment. When he successfully completed the terms of the deferred judgment, his guilty plea was withdrawn and the charge was dismissed with prejudice. In 2012, Espino-Paez filed a motion to withdraw his plea pursuant to Crim. P. 32(d). The district court denied the motion, and the court of appeals affirmed, holding that the district court had no authority to withdraw the plea because it had already been withdrawn. The Colorado Supreme Court affirmed. View "Espino-Paez v. Colorado" on Justia Law

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In 2009, defendant pled guilty to criminal impersonation, and he received a one-year deferred judgment. Defendant successfully complied with the terms of the deferred judgment, and in 2010 the court withdrew his guilty plea and the charge was dismissed with prejudice pursuant to section 18-1.3-102(2) C.R.S. (2016). In 2013, defendant moved to withdraw his guilty plea under Crim. P. 32(d), asserting that the plea was based on ineffective assistance of counsel. The district court determined that it lacked jurisdiction to consider the motion. The court of appeals reversed, holding that Crim. P. 32(d) allowed a defendant to seek withdrawal of a plea that has previously been withdrawn pursuant to section 18-1.3-102(2) when the plea has collateral consequences under federal immigration law. The Colorado Supreme Court found under the plain language of Rule 32(d), there must be a “plea” to “withdraw.” Here, there was no such plea to withdraw, because the plea was previously withdrawn pursuant to section 18-1.3-102(2). Nothing in Rule 32(d) authorized a district court to withdraw an already-withdrawn plea. View "Colorado v. Corrales-Castro" on Justia Law

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The State sought review of whether the trial court erred in suppressing evidence. Specifically, whether defendant Bernard Shoen’s encounter with police, during which he confessed to possessing a controlled substance, was consensual or whether it constituted an impermissible seizure under the Fourth Amendment. The Colorado Supreme Court concluded the encounter was consensual. Accordingly, the Court reversed the trial court’s order suppressing Shoen’s statements and the evidence seized from his truck, and remanded to that court for further proceedings. View "Colorado v. Shoen" on Justia Law

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Parish Carter was charged with two counts of first degree murder, bribing a witness, conspiracy to commit first degree murder, intimidation of a witness, and unlawful distribution of a controlled substance, all in connection with the drive-by shooting deaths of Javad Marshall-Fields and his fiancée Vivian Wolfe, the week before Marshall-Fields was to testify in a prosecution of Carter’s stepbrother, Robert Ray, for an earlier murder. Carter was acquitted of first degree murder and of bribing a witness but convicted of conspiracy to commit murder and the remaining charges. He was sentenced to 48 years for conspiracy and to consecutive lesser terms of incarceration for his other convictions, for a total sentence of 70 years. Carter petitioned for review of the court of appeals judgment affirming his conviction of conspiracy to commit first degree murder. With regard to a videotaped interrogation by the police, the district court denied a motion to suppress the defendant’s statements, rejecting all of his Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment claims, including his assertion that he had not been adequately advised of his right to have an attorney present during interrogation; and it denied the defendant’s motion to limit access to that videotape during jury deliberations. In a fractured opinion, in which all three members of the division of the court of appeals wrote separately, the appellate court affirmed with regard to both of these assignments of error. Because the Miranda advisement of the defendant reasonably conveyed that he had a right to consult with counsel, both before and during any interrogation by the police, and because the district court did not abuse its discretion in permitting the jury unrestricted access to both a video recording and transcript of the defendant’s custodial interrogation, the Colorado Supreme Court affirmed the court of appeals. View "Carter v. Colorado" on Justia Law

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The State appealed an appellate court’s judgment reversing Priscilla Rock’s convictions for second degree burglary and theft, relating to a break in and her ex-boyfriend’s parents’ house. Defendant conceded that she entered the house without authorization, but testified that she did so for the purpose of locating a memory card containing digital pictures of her son, whose father is the ex-boyfriend. She further testified that after she failed to locate the memory card in the house, she took the items from the home to hold them as “collateral,” in hopes of compelling her ex-boyfriend to deliver the memory card to her later, without ever intending to permanently keep these items from their owners. The prosecution, however, presented evidence that the defendant sold and gave away some of the items. The trial court denied Rock’s request for an additional, lesser-included-offense instruction on second degree criminal trespass, on the ground that second degree criminal trespass was not an included offense of second degree burglary. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that in denying Rock’s request, the trial court erred and that the error was not harmless with regard to either of Rock’s convictions. Because second degree criminal trespass was not a lesser included offense of second degree burglary under the strict elements test, the Colorado Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals is reversed. View "Colorado v. Rock" on Justia Law

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In a combined opinion, the Colorado Supreme Court addressed whether sexual offenders had to bear the cost of their victims’ forensic medical examinations as criminal restitution. The General Assembly authorized recovery of “extraordinary direct public . . . investigative costs,” courts of appeals have disagreed as to whether the cost of a victim’s SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) examination was “extraordinary.” As both a medical and investigative response to a sexual offense, a SANE exam necessarily performs dual roles: as a valuable tool for collecting sexual-assault evidence; and also as a patient-centered medical procedure sensitive to victims’ treatment needs, conducted by medical personnel, and limited to the scope of victims’ informed consent. The Supreme Court concluded the hybrid nature of these exams rendered them (and their resulting costs) extraordinary, and the state may recover those costs as restitution. The Court thus affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals in Colorado v. Teague, No. 10CA2358 (Colo. App. Nov. 27, 2013) (not published pursuant to C.A.R. 35(f)), and reversed the judgment of the court of appeals in Colorado v. Rogers, 2014 COA 110, __ P.3d __. Accordingly, the Court reinstated the district court’s restitution award in Rogers. View "Teague v. Colorado" on Justia Law

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The issue presented for the Colorado Supreme Court’s review in this case was whether it was reversible error for a trial court in a criminal case to provide the deliberating jury with “unfettered and unsupervised access” to a crime scene video and a video of a police interview of defendant Ignacio Ray “Mike” Rael. A unanimous division of the court of appeals concluded that the trial court did not err in either regard. The Supreme Court agreed with the result reached by the appellate court, namely, that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in allowing the jury unfettered access to the two videos during deliberations. In the Court’s view, the jury was entitled to access the non-testimonial crime scene video because that video did not present the same risk of undue emphasis as do videos documenting witnesses’ out-of-court, testimonial statements. The Court also concluded based on the longstanding rule that a defendant’s confession was not subject to the same limitations during deliberations as the out-of-court statements of other witnesses, that the jury was entitled to access the interview video. View "Rael v. Colorado" on Justia Law

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The Colorado Supreme Court concluded here that nothing in the language of the Colorado uninsured/underinsured motorist statute, 10-4-609 C.R.S. (2016) precluded an agent from exercising either apparent or implied authority to reject UM/UIM coverage on behalf of a principal. In line with this reasoning, the agent’s rejection of UM/UIM coverage was indeed binding on the principal. Respondent Brian Johnson tasked a friend with purchasing automobile insurance for the new car that he and the friend had purchased together. The friend did so, and in the course of that transaction, she chose to reject uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage on the new car. After an accident in that car with an underinsured motorist, Johnson contended that his friend’s rejection of UM/UIM coverage was not binding on him. View "State Farm v. Johnson" on Justia Law