July 20, 2019

Colorado Court of Appeals: Jury Instruction that Omitted Intent Element of Crime Not Harmless Therefore Conviction Reversed

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in People v. Ridgeway on Thursday, February 28, 2013.

Possession of Burglary Tools—Intent—Jury Instruction.

Defendant Lewis Ridgeway appealed the judgment of conviction entered on a jury verdict finding him guilty of possession of burglary tools. The judgment was reversed and the case was remanded for a new trial.

Ridgeway was charged with, among other things, second-degree burglary, theft of less than $500, and possession of burglary tools after burglarizing a check-cashing business. Ridgeway argued that the trial court failed to properly instruct the jury regarding the elements of the crime of possession of burglary tools. To convict a defendant for possession of burglary tools, a jury must find beyond a reasonable doubt both that the defendant possessed burglary tools and that he or she had the intent to use them to commit a burglary. Here, the elemental instruction submitted to the jury on possession of burglary tools omitted the intent element of the crime. Because the instructional error was not harmless beyond a reasonable doubt, the judgment of conviction was reversed and the case was remanded for a new trial.

Summary and full case available here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Speak Your Mind