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Colorado Supreme Court Opinions
February 3, 2014

2014 CO 10. No. 10SC747. People v. Smith.
Felony Probation Sentence—Presentence Confinement Credit.

The Supreme Court held that the statutory provision governing presentence confinement credit for a felony offense, CRS § 18-1.3-405, does not apply to probation, and therefore does not apply to the jail component of a probation sentence. Accordingly, when sentencing an offender to probation with a jail component, the trial court has discretion whether to credit an offender for presentence confinement in full, in part, or not at all. The court of appeals’ decision was reversed and the case was remanded.

2014 CO 6. No. 11SC289. People v. Walker.
Right to Jury Trial Waiver—Crim.P. 23(a)(5)(II).

In this criminal case, the Supreme Court considered whether defendant Marshall Walker validly waived his right to a jury trial following a trial court advisement that failed to substantially comply with Crim.P. 23(a)(5)(II). The Court held that a defendant may not litigate the validity of such a waiver on direct appeal but must do so in a post-conviction proceeding. The Court further held that, when evaluating a defendant’s waiver of the right to a jury trial, the post-conviction court must determine whether the defendant waived that right knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently. Finally, the Court affirmed Walker’s indeterminate sentences.

Because the court of appeals should not have reviewed Walker’s challenge regarding the validity of his waiver of the right to a jury trial, the Court vacated its ruling regarding Walker’s challenge to the validity of his jury trial waiver. The Court otherwise upheld the court of appeals’ judgment of conviction. Walker may challenge the validity of his waiver (and its effect on his sentences) in a post-conviction proceeding.

2014 CO 7. No. 12SC737. City of Brighton v. Rodriguez.
Workers’ Compensation—Liability—CRS § 8-41-301(1)(c)—Settlement and Hearing Procedures—CRS § 8-43-201(1).

In this workers’ compensation case, the Supreme Court held that an “unexplained fall” satisfies the “arising out of” employment requirement in CRS § 8-41-301(1)(c), if the fall would not have occurred but for the fact that the conditions and obligations of employment placed the employee in the position where he or she was injured. Additionally, the Court held that when a party seeks to modify an issue determined by a general or final admission, a summary order, or a full order, per CRS § 8-43-201(1), that party has the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that a modification is warranted. Accordingly, the Court affirmed the court of appeals’ holding, but for different reasons.

2014 CO 8. No. 11SC157. Moore v. People
Curtis Advisement—Post-Conviction Review—Contemporaneous Objection—Blehm—Knowing, Voluntary, and Intelligent Waiver—Right of Criminal Defendant to Testify.

The Supreme Court held that the court of appeals erred in considering on direct appeal defendant’s challenge to the knowing, voluntary, and intelligent nature of his waiver of the right to testify, and such a challenge may be brought only in a post-conviction proceeding. The Court also held that a defendant need not make a contemporaneous objection to his or her Curtis advisement in the trial court. [See People v. Curtis, 681 P.2d 504 (Colo. 1984), as modified by People v. Blehm, 983 P.2d 779 (Colo. 1999).]

Accordingly, the Court disapproved of and vacated the court of appeals’ discussion and holding regarding the issue of the validity of defendant’s waiver of the right to testify in this case. Otherwise, it upheld the court of appeals’ judgment of conviction.

2014 CO 9. No. 13SA123. In re People v. Steen.
Stay of Execution in County Court—CRS § 16-2-114(6)—Crim.P. 37(f).

In this original CAR 21 proceeding, the Supreme Court held that CRS § 16-2-114(6) and Crim.P. 37(f) require a county court, on request, to grant a stay of execution of a defendant’s sentence pending appeal of a misdemeanor conviction to the district court. Accordingly, the Court made the rule absolute and remanded the case to the district court with instructions that, pursuant to CRS § 16-2-114(6) and Crim.P. 37(f), a stay of execution shall remain in effect until after final disposition of a defendant’s appeal, unless modified by the district court.

Colorado Supreme Court Opinions

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