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Colorado Supreme Court Opinions
November 12, 2013

2013 CO 64. No. 11SC813. People v. $11,200.00 U.S. Currency.
Public Nuisance Statute—Civil Forfeiture Proceedings.

The Supreme Court held that CRS § 16-13-307(1.6) of the public nuisance statute, which is a specialized proceeding governing civil forfeiture actions, provides for the dismissal of a forfeiture claim and the return of seized property only when the underlying criminal charge is dismissed by a trial court. It does not apply where the underlying criminal case is dismissed following a reversal of the related criminal conviction on appeal when a judgment of forfeiture has already entered. Here, defendant sought the return of $11,200 that was forfeited, distributed, and spent by the receiving agencies three-and-a-half years before his criminal conviction was dismissed following reversal by the court of appeals. Because CRS § 16-13-307(1.6) did not apply to this case, where the forfeiture claim had ripened into a forfeiture judgment years before defendant’s criminal conviction was dismissed, the court of appeals’ judgment was reversed.

2013 CO 65. No. 13SA107. In re People in the Interest of A.A.
Colorado Code of Criminal Procedure—Colorado Children’s Code.

The People petitioned pursuant to CAR 21 for relief from an in limine ruling of the juvenile court allowing the introduction of testimony by the juvenile’s psychological expert without regard for the court-ordered examination mandated by CRS § 16-8-107. The juvenile court reasoned that in the absence of any provision of the Criminal Procedure Code specifying otherwise, the requirements of CRS § 16-8-107 did not apply to delinquency proceedings.

The Supreme Court approved the ruling of the juvenile court and discharged its rule to show cause. Because the Colorado Code of Criminal Procedure expressly provides that it will not apply to proceedings under the Colorado Children’s Code except as specifically set forth in the Criminal Procedure Code itself, and because no provision of the Criminal Procedure Code suggests that § 16-8-107 was intended to apply to proceedings under the Children’s Code, the Court found that the court-ordered examination in question cannot apply to delinquency proceedings.

2013 CO 66. No. 13SA114. People v. Crum.
Vehicular Search Incident to Arrest—Reasonable Articulable Suspicion—Reasonable Searches and Seizures—Suppression of Evidence.

The Supreme Court held that where a defendant is seen retrieving controlled substances packaged in a manner consistent with the intent to distribute from a vehicle parked late at night in an area known for high volumes of drug activity, and where the defendant attempts to conceal the substances, the facts and circumstances give rise to a reasonable articulable suspicion that the vehicle might contain more evidence of possession of a controlled substance. Under such circumstances, police officers may search the vehicle incident to the defendant’s arrest for possession of a controlled substance. The Court therefore reversed the trial court's order suppressing evidence discovered during the search.

Colorado Supreme Court Opinions