Supreme Court Back in Session

What’s on the agenda for the Colorado Supreme Court

Oral Arguments

Sept. 17-18

Friend v. People

  • Whether the Court of Appeals erred when it held that the defendant’s double jeopardy claim was not waived and the trial court’s failure to sua sponte merge the defendant’s child abuse convictions constituted plain error.
  • Whether child abuse causing death as part of a pattern of conduct under section 18-6-401(1)(a), (7)(a)(I), C.R.S., merges into first-degree murder child abuse under section 18-3-102(1)(f), C.R.S., when they are based on identical evidence and the death results solely from accumulated injuries.
  • Whether the Court of Appeals erred when it held that Colorado’s child abuse statute, section 18-6-401, C.R.S., only provides alternative means of committing a single offense of child abuse; and the defendant may only be convicted of a single count of child abuse for numerous acts of torture and abuse that took place at different times over several days.

People ex rel.; Dick Wolfe, State Engineer for the State of Colorado; and Craig Cotten, Division Engineer for Water Division No. 3 v. Sease

  • Whether the trial court erred in finding both criminal and remedial contempt where there was no identification of Gregg Sease as the contemnor.
  • Whether the trial court erred in shifting the burden of proof to the Defendant.

Cowen v. People

  • Whether the Court of Appeals erred by affirming the trial court’s imposition of restitution on an acquitted count for losses that did not result from the criminal conduct that was the basis for the petitioner’s conviction.

Garner v. People

  • Whether the Court of Appeals erred in affirming the trial court’s admission of the in-court identifications of the defendant.

Marko v. People

  • Whether a defendant who is in the military is in custody prior to being advised of his Miranda rights when ordered by a superior officer to attend an interrogation conducted by civilian police officers at a military police station.
  • Whether the Court of Appeals erred in concluding that, pursuant to People v. Novotny, 2014 CO 18, the trial court’s denial of the petitioner’s challenge for cause of a prospective juror who could not fairly apply the law with respect to the insanity defense was not subject to reversal.

People v. Lozano-Ruiz

  • Whether the district court erred in holding that omitting the definition of ‘sexual penetration’ from the jury instructions contributed to the conviction and therefore constituted reversible plain error.

Mountjoy v. People

  • Whether Apprendi v. New Jersey,  and U.S. v. Gaudin require a jury to make the ultimate determination of ‘extraordinary aggravating circumstances’ under Colorado’s residual sentence aggravator, where the requisite finding presents a mixed question of law and fact.
  • Whether a violation of the right to jury trial on a sentence aggravator can be harmless under Washington v. Recuenco where the jury probably would have found the historical facts the judge relied on in finding the aggravator was present, but there is substantial doubt the jury would have drawn the ultimate conclusion that the historical facts proved the aggravator.
  • Whether a violation of the right to a jury trial on a sentence aggravator can be harmless under Washington v. Recuenco, where the prosecution neither charged the aggravator in the information nor gave pre-verdict notice it sought aggravation.

People v. Janis

  • Whether an in-custody defendant’s waiver of her right to be present at trial must be preceded by a formal advisement and waiver process, even though the record shows that the defendant chose not to be present during the victim’s testimony.
  • Whether there is sufficient evidence on the record to determine, under the totality of the circumstances, that the defendant knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily waived her right to be present during the victim’s testimony.

To read this story and other complete articles featured in the September 10, 2018 print edition of Law Week Colorado, copies are available for purchase online.