July 23, 2019

Colorado Supreme Court: Trial Court Did Not Err in Denying Defense’s Requested Continuance

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in People v. Ahuero on Monday, October 2, 2017.

Criminal Law—Continuances.

This case required the Colorado Supreme Court to decide whether a trial court abused its discretion in denying a continuance that defense counsel requested seeking more time to prepare for trial. At the time the continuance was requested, the trial court considered the following factors: (1) defense counsel would have three weeks to prepare for a two- or three-day trial involving eight witnesses and no physical evidence, but defense counsel refused to make specific arguments on why the additional time was needed; (2) the trial court would have had to rearrange its docket and possibly hand off the case to a different judge; (3) priority is given to cases involving the sexual assault of a child; and (4) the victim’s family wanted to resolve the case promptly.

The supreme court concluded that, under these circumstances, the trial court’s decision to deny a continuance was not so manifestly arbitrary, unreasonable, or unfair to constitute an abuse of discretion. Therefore, the court reversed the court of appeals’ judgment and remanded the case for proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Summary provided courtesy of Colorado Lawyer.

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