The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in People v. Alfaro on Monday, March 17, 2014.
The People petitioned for review of the court of appeals’ judgment in People v. Alfaro, No. 06CA314 (Colo.App. May 12, 2011) (not published pursuant to CAR 35(f)), which reversed defendant’s various convictions for murder, burglary, and attempted kidnapping. On direct appeal, the court of appeals found that the trial court erred by allowing defendant fewer peremptory challenges than authorized by statute and rule. Although defendant failed to object to the trial court’s interpretation of the applicable statute, the court of appeals found that the trial court’s error rose to the level of plain error, and ordered defendant’s convictions reversed and his sentences vacated.
The Supreme Court reversed the court of appeals’ judgment. The Court found that the court of appeals did not apply the outcome-determinative standard, which the Court’s holding in People v. Novotny, 2014 CO 18, makes mandatory for good-faith errors impairing a defendant’s capacity to shape the jury through peremptory challenges.
Summary and full case available here.