August 23, 2019

Colorado Court of Appeals: Private Employee Working at Public Building Not Considered “Public Official or Employee” in Criminal Context

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in People v. Moore on Thursday, June 6, 2013.

Impeding a Public Official or Employee—Private Employer—CRS § 18-9-110(2).

Defendant appealed the judgment of conviction entered on a jury verdict finding him guilty of impeding a public official or employee in a public building. The judgment was vacated.

Defendant, an attorney, injured a 61-year-old woman security guard when he forcibly passed through the security checkpoint at the Denver City and County Building. The victim was employed by a private security company.

The People argued that the trial court’s denial of defendant’s motion to dismiss was rendered moot by the subsequent trial and was no longer reviewable. However, the trial court construed the statute to permit defendant’s prosecution under the statute as a matter of law. The jury was bound by this determination. Therefore, the jury’s verdict did not render moot the denial of defendant’s motion to dismiss or preclude him from challenging his conviction on appeal.

Defendant contended that his judgment of conviction should be vacated because the victim was not a “public employee,” which is a prerequisite to establishing criminal liability under the statute. Because the victim was not a public employee, but was employed by a private security company, defendant’s conviction under CRS § 18-9-110(2) was vacated.

Summary and full case available here.

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