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Colorado Supreme Court

Leans Pro Government
Total Judgeships: 

7 (0 vacancies)

Political Makeup: 

Non-Partisan

Location(s): 
Denver
Caseload: 

1400

Recent Cases

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LISTEN NOWThe Freedom Files Podcast Episode 46: Project Arizona Part 2Listen Here
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2nd Amend. Rights Allowed for Self Defense of Felons

Mon, 06/30/2014

People of the State of Colorado v. Joddy Carbajal: Carbajal was charged as a felon in possession when a home-search revealed his possession of 3 weapons. In court, Carbajal argued that he needed the weapons for self-defense in order to defend his home, person, and property. The Trial Court stepped in by informing the jury that Carbajal must “reasonably believe” there to be an imminent threat to adequately argue the possession of weapons for self-defense. Carbajal was convicted by jury for 2 of the 3 counts, the Court of Appeals reversed finding that Carbajal did not need “reasonable belief.”

Decision

The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Court of Appeals. The Colorado Supreme Court ruled that the Trial Court correctly determined that “reasonable belief” is necessary in this case and did not err in informing the jury of this necessity. This decision determined that Carbajal did have the right to possess 1 weapon because he had reasonable belief that his person, home, and property were under imminent threat.

Read the full decision here
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Colorado’s Express Consent Law Upheld

Mon, 06/30/2014

Hanson v. Department of Revenue: Colorado’s Express Consent Law requires an individual who is believed to be intoxicated to consent to an alcohol blood test. Hanson was arrested after a police officer entered his home under probable cause and determined that he was intoxicated. Upon refusing to consent to an alcohol blood test, the officer revoked Hanson’s driver’s license based solely upon the his analysis of Hanson’s actions.

Decision

The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the lower courts by ruling in favor of the Department of Revenue. The Court determined that the Department was within its power to revoke Hanson’s license because of Hanson’s clear violation of the Express Consent Law.

Read the full decision here
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Breathalyzer Tests Not Allowed in Court to Impeach Testimony

Mon, 06/16/2014

Peter Gregory Cain v. People of State of Colorado: Cain was pulled over and brought to court under the accusations of driving while intoxicated. During the hearing, Cain argued that he has a speech impediment, that his eyes are always watery, and that he had spilt beer on his shirt, thus denying claims that these were signs of his intoxication. Colorado law does not allow for the use of Breathalyzer tests (PBTs) to be used as evidence in court. In this case, the question arose if PBTs can be used to impeach evidence presented in testimony.

Decision

The Supreme Court of Colorado held that, based on the language presented in Colorado law, that PBTs cannot be used in court in any way not explicitly stated in the statute. PBTs being used to impeach testimony is not a stated use. As a result, the Court ruled that PBT results cannot be used as evidence in Cain’s trial. The Court remanded the case for further proceedings.

Read the full decision here