The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in People v. Bondurant on March 29, 2012.
Murder—Burglary—Expert Testimony—Mental Condition—Separation of Powers Doctrine—Constitutional—Self-Incrimination—Due Process—Effective Assistance of Counsel—Jury Instructions—Extraneous Information.
Defendant Jason William Bondurant appealed the trial court’s judgment of conviction entered on jury verdicts finding him guilty of first-degree murder after deliberation, second-degree murder, first-degree felony murder, first-degree burglary, false imprisonment, theft, two counts of menacing, and four counts of child abuse. The judgment was affirmed.
At trial, Bondurant admitted to fatally shooting the two victims, but denied that he could be convicted of the various charges because he lacked the culpable mental state. Bondurant contended that the trial court erred in ordering him to undergo a psychiatric examination pursuant to CRS §16-8-106 after he proposed to introduce expert testimony on his mental condition, because the statutory scheme is unconstitutional. The statute, although affecting the procedure of the courts, also concerns the public policy of full disclosure in criminal cases involving a defense based on a defendant’s mental condition. Additionally, there is not a substantial conflict between the requirements of Crim.P. 11(e) and 16 (II)(b), and CRS § 16-8-107(3)(b). Accordingly, because CRS § 16-8-107(3)(b) does not violate the separation of powers doctrine, the trial court did not err in applying it.
Bondurant also contended that CRS § 16-8-107(3)(b) and relevant portions of CRS §§ 16-8-103.6 and -106 are unconstitutionally vague, both facially and as applied to him. The term “mental condition” and “cooperate” are not incomprehensible as claimed by Bondurant. Therefore, these arguments failed.
Bondurant also maintained that CRS §§ 16-8-103.6(2), -106(2)(c) and (3)(b)–(c), and -107(1.5)(a) and (3)(b) violate a defendant’s constitutional privilege against self-incrimination. However, these statutes limit the admission of information obtained in court-ordered examinations to the issues of mental condition and insanity that defendants themselves have raised. Therefore, they do not violate defendant’s constitutional privilege against self-incrimination here.
Bondurant contended that, taken together, CRS §§ 16-8-103.6(2), -106(2)(c) and (3)(b)–(c), and -107(1.5)(a) and (3)(b) violate a defendant’s constitutional right to due process and effective assistance of counsel. The court did not preclude this line of defense, but only required defendant to comply with the statute if he chose to pursue it.
Bondurant contended that there was insufficient evidence to support a finding beyond a reasonable doubt that he had unlawfully entered or remained in the Hawkinses’ home, an element material to his conviction of first-degree burglary and felony murder. Bondurant was not invited to the birthday party taking place at the home on the date of the charged offenses. Bondurant entered the house unexpectedly and with a gun in hand. Based on this evidence, the jury could reasonably infer that Bondurant did not have permission from the Hawkinses to enter their property on the date of the charged offenses.
Bondurant also contended that the trial court erred in refusing to give the jury the supplemental instructions he tendered concerning the elements of intent and trespass for the burglary charge. Defendant’s proposed instructions were duplicative, and the tendered jury instructions were adequate and not an abuse of discretion.
Bondurant further argued that the trial court committed reversible error by addressing separate allegations made by him at trial, so that the jury was, or may have been, improperly exposed to extraneous information. The Court of Appeals ruled that the trial court did not err in disregarding a news story not relevant to this case, and determined that the jury did not learn any prejudicial information in a brief exchange of comments with a court staff member in an elevator ride.