June 19, 2019

Colorado Court of Appeals: People v. Alvarado-Juarez

on June 10, 2010.

Extreme Indifference Murder—Reckless Manslaughter—Elements—Equal Protection—Reasonable Doubt—Jury Instruction.

Defendant Alvarado-Juarez appealed the judgment of conviction for extreme indifference murder, attempted extreme indifference murder, assault, and two counts of reckless endangerment. The judgment was affirmed.

Defendant argued that his conviction under the extreme indifference murder statute denied him equal protection because the reckless manslaughter statute prohibits identical conduct, yet punishes that conduct less severely. However, there is a significant difference between the elements of extreme indifference murder and reckless manslaughter. Extreme indifference murder proscribes “acts that put at grave risk a number of individuals not targeted by the defendant, as well as acts putting at risk a single victim, without knowing or caring who that may be.” Reckless manslaughter lacks that element. Accordingly, defendant’s conviction under the extreme indifference murder statute did not deny him equal protection.

Defendant also contended that Colorado’s pattern reasonable doubt jury instruction inaccurately described the degree of certainty required to find defendant guilty. Colorado’s pattern jury instruction defines reasonable doubt as one that “would cause reasonable people to hesitate to act in matters of importance to themselves.” The judgment was affirmed.

This summary is published here courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer. Other summaries by the Colorado Court of Appeals on June 10, 2010, can be found here.

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