May 24, 2012

Colorado Court of Appeals - 4-12-12 - People v. M.C.

People v. M.C.          Willful Destruction of Wildlife
Facts: In Grand County, Colorado, where hunting remains king, a friend of M.C.’s killed a prong horned antelope while M.C., the shooter, and another kid went out to shoot at clay pigeons. Because all kids need a felony adjudication, prosecution filed willful destruction of wildlife against M.C., a class five felony. The prosecution summed up the facts of this case in its response to the bill of particulars order, “[M.C.] abandoned the wildlife when he left the original kill site with the person who killed the wildlife. He went with the person who killed the wildlife back to a [sic] juvenile's house. He then returned to the scene with the person who killed the wildlife. He helped move the carcass from the original kill spot to a different location. He and the others then abandoned the wildlife.” In a court trial, the judge found the youngster guilty (kids do not have a right to a jury trial.) In his appeal, M.C., unfortunately, did not raise sufficiency of the evidence, but only challenged the law as unconstitutional
Issue: Whether willful destruction of wildlife statute is unconstitutionally vague?
Held: No.
Reasoning: The legislators defined ‘take’ but instead ambiguously used of the term ‘taken’ in the destruction of wildlife statute. Nevertheless, the Court of Appeals found the statute as a whole easily understood by anyone of common intelligence. Further, the Court found the dictionary definition of abandon provided sufficient notice. Judge Furman agreed with M.C. in dissent, and argued that M.C. never acquired an interest in the antelope sufficient enough to ‘abandon’ the animal. Judge Webb with Judge Russel concurring wrote the decision. 
>Link to People v. M.C. here<

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