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Colorado Supreme Court Opinions
December 19, 2011

No. 09SC1054. Riley v. People.
Criminal Law—Jury Instructions—Self-Defense—Multiple Assailants.

The Supreme Court affirmed the court of appeals’ judgment and held that the trial court did not err when it rejected petitioner Anthony Riley’s suggested multiple assailants instruction. The instructions given by the trial court accurately apprised the jury of the law of self-defense, in compliance with People v. Jones, 675 P.2d 9 (Colo. 1984).

No. 10SA224. Concerning the Office of the State Engineer’s Approval of the Plan of Water Management for Special Improvement Dist. No. 1 of the Rio Grande Water Conservation Dist.: San Antonio, Los Pinos, and Conejos River Acequia Preservation Assoc. v. Special Improvement Dist. No. 1 of the Rio Grande Water Conservation Dist.; and Rio Grande Water Conservation Dist. v. San Antonio, Los Pinos, and Conejos River Acequia Preservation Assoc.
Approval of Ground Water Management Plan—Role of State Engineer and Trial Court

The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment and decree of the Alamosa County District Court and the water court for Water Division No. 3 approving the ground water management plan adopted by the Special Improvement District No. 1 (Subdistrict), the Rio Grande Water Conservation District, and the State Engineer. The General Assembly has adopted a series of statutes applicable to confined and unconfined aquifers within the San Luis Valley and Water Division No. 3, empowering the Subdistrict to adopt and implement the plan. The plan as approved and decreed adequately addresses the replacement of well depletions that injure adjudicated senior surface water rights, along with restoring and maintaining sustainable aquifer levels in accordance with the applicable statutes. Provisions of the augmentation statutes do not govern approval of the plan. The Subdistrict bears the burden of going forward, as well as the burden of proof to demonstrate that annual replacement plans prevent material injury to adjudicated senior surface water rights caused by ongoing and past well depletions that have future impact.

No. 10SC703. Condo v. Conners.
Limited Liability Company Membership Duties and Rights—Transfer of Voting Rights.

The Supreme Court held that an attempted assignment of a limited liability company (LLC) member’s right to receive distributions and effective transfer of voting rights was invalid because it was made without the consent of the other members of the LLC, in violation of the anti-assignment clause in the LLC’s operating agreement. The Court reasoned that because the anti-assignment clause applied to the assignment of “any portion” of a membership interest, the clause applied to attempted assignments of both rights and duties. Further, because the Colorado LLC statute evinces a preference for the freedom of contract, the Court held that this anti-assignment clause rendered each LLC member powerless to make an assignment without the consent of all members and, therefore, this attempted assignment was without any legal effect.

Nos. 09SC665 & 09SC1043. People v. Simon; Tillery v. People.
Criminal Law—Sexual Assault on a Child by One in a Position of Trust—Pattern of Abuse.

The Supreme Court held that CRS §§ 18-3-405(2)(d) and 405.3(2)(b) unambiguously allow each separately charged incident of sexual assault on a child, or sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust, to be elevated to a class 3 felony, where each incident is committed as part of a pattern of sexual abuse. The Court further held that these statutes, construed according to their plain language, do not violate the double jeopardy protection against multiple punishments under either the U.S. or the Colorado Constitution.

The Court therefore reversed the court of appeals’ decision in People v. Simon, reinstated Simon’s ten class 3 felony pattern convictions and sentences, and remanded the case to the court of appeals for consideration of the remaining issue raised by Simon on appeal. The Court affirmed the court of appeals’ decision in Tillery v. People and remanded with directions to return the case to the trial court for resentencing in accordance with the court of appeals’ decision.

Colorado Supreme Court Opinions