Not a CBA Member? Join Now!
Find A Lawyer Directory
Legal Directory

Colorado Supreme Court Opinions || April 7, 2014

Colorado Supreme Court -- April 7, 2014
2014 CO 23. No. 11SC674. People v. Montero-Romero.

The Supreme Court of the State of Colorado
2 East 14th Avenue • Denver, Colorado 80203

2014 CO 23

Supreme Court Case No. 11SC674
Certiorari to the Colorado Court of Appeals
Court of Appeals Case No. 10CA833


The People of the State of Colorado,



Eusebio Montero-Romero.

Judgment Reversed
en banc
April 7, 2014

Attorneys for Petitioner:
John W. Suthers, Attorney General
Rebecca A. Jones, Senior Assistant Attorney General
     Denver, Colorado

Attorneys for Respondent:
Johnson Brennan & Klein, PLLC
Gail K. Johnson
     Boulder, Colorado

Attorneys for Amicus Curiae Colorado Criminal Defense Bar:
Haddon, Morgan and Foreman, P.C.
Ty Gee
     Denver, Colorado


JUSTICE COATS delivered the Opinion of the Court.
JUSTICE HOOD dissents, and JUSTICE HOBBS joins in the dissent.


¶1     &The People petitioned for review of the court of appeals judgment in People v. Montero-Romero, No. 10CA833 (Colo. App. Aug. 25, 2011) (not published pursuant to C.A.R. 35(f)), in which that court reversed Montero-Romero’s convictions for first degree assault and first degree burglary and his sentence to 28 years in the Department of Corrections. As is relevant here, upon concluding that the trial court abused its discretion in denying a challenge for cause on the grounds of juror bias, and that the defendant removed the prospective juror in question with a peremptory challenge and subsequently exhausted his remaining peremptory challenges, the division reversed, noting this court’s rule of automatic reversal in People v. Macrander, 828 P.2d 234, 244 (Colo. 1992). The People petitioned solely to request that this court reconsider the requirement for automatic reversal under these circumstances.

¶2     &In People v. Novotny, 2014 CO 18, ¶ 27, we overruled the automatic reversal rule announced in Macrander, holding that the reversal of a criminal conviction for other than structural error, in the absence of express legislative mandate or an appropriate case specific, outcome-determinative analysis, could no longer be sustained. We further found that allowing a defendant fewer peremptory challenges than authorized by statute or rule does not, in and of itself, amount to structural error. Id.

¶3     &Because the court of appeals relied on the bright-line, automatic reversal rule of Macrander, rather than evaluating the likely effect of the trial court’s error on the outcome of the specific case in which it occurred, and because the automatic reversal requirement of Macrander has now been overruled, the judgment of the court of appeals is reversed, and the case is remanded for reconsideration in light of our holding in Novotny.

 JUSTICE HOOD dissents, and JUSTICE HOBBS joins in the dissent.

JUSTICE HOOD, dissenting.

¶4     In People v. Novotny, 2014 CO 18, ¶ 27, this court overturned the automatic-reversal rule of People v. Macrander, 828 P.2d 234 (Colo. 1992), and replaced it with an “appropriate case specific, outcome-determinative analysis.” I dissented, in part because I am convinced that Novotny substitutes “Macrander’s rule mandating automatic reversal with a rule seeming to mandate automatic affirmance.” See Novotny, ¶ 31 (Hood, J., concurring in part and dissenting in part). For the same reasons articulated in that dissent, I respectfully dissent here as well.

I am authorized to state that JUSTICE HOBBS joins in the dissent.

These opinions are not final. They may be modified, changed or withdrawn in accordance with Rules 40 and 49 of the Colorado Appellate Rules. Changes to or modifications of these opinions resulting from any action taken by the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court are not incorporated here.

Colorado Supreme Court Opinions || April 7, 2014