December 16, 2009

Court of Appeals 11-25-09

People v. Curren     Conflict of Interest
Tom Carberry and Patrick Mulligan convinced Judge Ensor in Adams to reverse Mr. Curren's murder conviction, and the Court of Appeals affirmed. During the pendency of this double homicide, Mr. Curren was out on bond. According to Mr. Curren, while he was out on bond, his original lawyer advised him to leave the country. He did. However, when he came back, he told another lawyer his trial counsel advised him to leave the country. The trial lawyer denied the allegation, and from the opinion, it sounds like a heated argument ensued between the two lawyers. Mr. Curren chose to stay with the trial lawyer, the lawyer he accused of advising him to leave the country, and at trial, a jury only convicted him of 2 counts of felony murder and aggravated robbery (among a slew of other including after deliberation). After, the Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction, Mr. Curren filed a 35(c). At the 35(c) hearing, Judge Ensor found that the trial lawyer did not actually advise Mr. Curren to leave the country, but nevertheless, Mr. Curren's allegation created an actual conflict of interest, and reversed the murder conviction.
 
People v. Neuhaus    Conditional Pleas
Mr. Neuhaus entered into a plea bargain with the understanding he could still appeal the trial court's pretrial order denying his motion to suppress evidence. As the email that went around a couple weeks ago stated, the Court of Appeals held that Colorado does not permit conditional pleas, unlike in Federal Court or other jurisdictions. Thus, when Ms. Neuhaus pled, she waived her right to appeal any errors made by the trial court.
 
People Laeke        Right to Jury Trial
Mr. Laeke's trial counsel entered the plea of not guilty by reason of insanity over Mr. Laeke's objection. The prosecution stipulated to Mr. Laeke's insanity. The trial court found Mr. Laeke not guilty by reason of insanity, and committed him to the state hospital. On appeal, he asserts despite the prosecution's stipulation, he still has a right to a jury trial. The Court of Appeals agreed, and found neither trial counsel nor the prosecution can waive Mr. Laeke's right to jury trial, even in these circumstances.
 
People v. Crawford        Theft and Aggregate Value
Ms. Crawford contended that the trial court impermissibly allowed the jury to aggregate the value of items stolen. The issue was what was meant by the word "thing" in the statute. The defense pointed out other statutes and the theft statute account for multiple "things", but the specific section the prosecution convicted Ms. Crawford under only uses the singular "thing". Of course, silly defense lawyer, thing means things held the Court of Appeals.
 
 Johnson v. Griffin
Nancy Johnson, I am assuming the defense lawyer we all know, filed an interesting appeal. I attached that also - it concerns an election law, but kudos to Nancy for taking up the issue on her own. 

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