June 19, 2019

Colorado Supreme Court: Privately Owned Prison Not “Law Enforcement Agency” for Jury Selection Purposes

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in People v. Bonvicini on Monday, February 22, 2016.

Criminal Case Jury Selection—Challenges for Cause.

The Supreme Court held that, under the plain language of the challenge for cause statute, CRS § 16-10-103(1)(k), a “public law enforcement agency” is a division or subdivision of state or federal government that has the authority to investigate crimes and to arrest, prosecute, or detain suspected criminals. The potential juror in this case worked at a prison owned and operated by a private company that housed inmates from Alaska. The Court concluded that the private company operating the prison is not a “public law enforcement agency” under the statute because it is not an official governmental entity. Therefore, the trial court appropriately denied defendant’s challenge for cause to the potential juror who worked at the private prison. Because the trial court did not err, the Court did not address the issue concerning the proper remedy for a trial court’s erroneous ruling on a challenge for cause.

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

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