September 20, 2014

Colorado Supreme Court: Trial Court Abused Discretion by Denying Unopposed Motion to Dismiss

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in People v. Storlie on Monday, June 16, 2014.

Criminal Law—Dismissal, Nolle Prosequi, or Discontinuance.

In this CAR 21 proceeding, defendant and the district attorney sought extraordinary relief from the trial court’s denial of the district attorney’s motion to dismiss the charges against defendant pursuant to Crim.P. 48(a). The Supreme Court issued a rule to show cause and made the rule absolute. A trial court may deny the prosecution’s unopposed motion to dismiss only where it has been shown by clear and convincing evidence that the interests of the defendant or the public are jeopardized by the refusal to prosecute. The prosecution is presumed to be acting in the best interests of the public unless the prosecution is shown to have been acting in bad faith. Here, the district attorney made a good-faith prosecutorial decision to dismiss the charges based on an assessment of available testimony. Accordingly, the trial court’s denial of the motion to dismiss was an abuse of discretion.

Summary and full case available here.

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