October 2, 2011
People v. DeWitt Right To Bear Arms / Affirmative Defenses / Possession of a Weapon by a Previous Offender
Facts: The prosecution charged Mr. DeWitt with possession of a weapon by a previous offender. The trial court in gun toting, military loving, red-neck hugging Colorado Springs denied Mr. Dewitt an instruction on the Right to Bear Arms as an affirmative defense. Mr. DeWitt testified that he carried the guns for self-defense.
Issue: Whether the trial court erred in denying Mr. DeWitt an instruction on the Right to Bear Arms as an affirmative defense to possession of a weapon by a previous offender?
Reasoning: A) The Court of Appeals found that the Right to Bear Arms under the Constitution is indeed a defense; B) Mr. DeWitt’s testimony provided more than the scintilla of evidence needed to justify instructing the jury on the Constitutional affirmative defense of Right to Bear Arms; C) This holding is completely consistent with People v. Barger, 732 P.2d 1225, 1226 (Colo.App.1986). In Barger, the Court held the offer of proof insufficient to justify the instruction. Here, Mr. DeWitt testified. Nice work trial attorney, whomever you may be.