September 24, 2018
2018 CO 78. No. 15SC292. Casillas v. People.
In this criminal appeal, the Supreme Court reviewed whether the exclusionary rule required the suppression of evidence derived from a juvenile probation officer’s unauthorized collection of DNA from a juvenile in violation of CRS § 19-2-925.6 and the Fourth Amendment. The Court held that (1) juvenile probation officers are properly considered adjuncts to law enforcement; (2) the officer’s collection of the juvenile’s DNA for uploading to CODIS served an inherent law enforcement function; (3) nothing in the record suggests the officer conducted the buccal swab search in reliance on misinformation provided by a third party; and (4) the unlawful search here was not based on a reasonable misinterpretation of the law. Because suppression would have a deterrent effect by removing incentives to collect DNA from ineligible juvenile offenders, the Court held that suppression was warranted. Accordingly, the Court reversed the Court of Appeals’ judgment and remanded the case with instructions to vacate petitioner’s conviction.
2018 CO 79. No. 16SC849. Bewley v. Semler.
In this case, the Supreme Court considered whether the strict privity rule bars claims against attorneys by non-clients absent a showing of fraud, malicious conduct, or negligent misrepresentation. The Court held that, absent any wrongdoing, the strict privity rule does bar claims against attorneys by non-clients because holding otherwise may force attorneys to place non-clients’ interests ahead of clients’ interests. Here, because Semler did not allege any fraud, malicious conduct, or negligent misrepresentation, he lacked standing to assert a breach-of-contract claim.
2018 CO 80. No. 16SC676. Estate of Brookoff v. Clark
In this case, the Supreme Court interpreted Colorado’s “Dead Man’s Statute” in light of recent amendments that removed language limiting the statute’s applicability to matters in which a decedent’s estate was a party. Discerning no ambiguity in the current version of the statute, the Court held that these amendments expand the scope of the statute such that it is now applicable “in all civil actions.” The Court also held that because the statute applies irrespective of the potential impact of a judgment on an estate, the existence of insurance coverage is not a factor militating for or against the applicability of the statute.