June 26, 2019

Colorado Supreme Court: Existing Two-Part Framework Sufficient to Evaluate Waiver of Counsel

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in People v. Davis on Monday, June 1, 2015.

Competency to Waive the Right to Counsel—Double Jeopardy—Merger.

The Supreme Court declined to adopt a new competency standard, pursuant to Indiana v. Edwards, 554 U.S. 164 (2008), for mentally ill defendants who wish to waive the Sixth Amendment right to counsel. Accordingly, the Court reversed the court of appeals’ decision to adopt an Edwards standard. In addition, the Court held that double jeopardy and merger principles require the trial court to vacate Davis’s possession conviction because the evidence at trial did not support a finding, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Davis possessed a quantum of drugs different from the one he distributed to an undercover officer. As such, the Court reversed the court of appeals’ decision to uphold Davis’s possession conviction.

Summary and full case available here, courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

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