January 22, 2019

Colorado Court of Appeals: Hearsay Evidence of Value Not Necessarily Admissible Without Reliable Evidence of Price or Value

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in People v. Jaeb on Thursday, December 28, 2018.

Crimes — Theft — Evidence of Value; Evidence — Hearsay Exceptions

A division of the court of appeals considers whether all types of hearsay evidence are permitted as evidence of value for all cases of theft, pursuant to section 18-4-414(2), C.R.S. 2018, which provides that “[h]earsay evidence shall not be excluded in determining the value of [a] thing.” The division concludes that the statutory hearsay exception is not a blanket exception to the hearsay rule for proof of value of any stolen property but applies only where the hearsay “regard[s] affixed labels and tags, signs, shelf tags, and notices,” or other reliable evidence of “the sale price of other similar property” as specified in section 18-4-414(2).

The division further concludes that the evidence of value offered by the prosecution was hearsay, was not admissible under the business records exception, and that absent such evidence the prosecution failed to provide competent evidence for the value of the stolen property. Because the evidence was insufficient to sustain felony theft conviction but sufficient as to misdemeanor theft, the division reverses the conviction of felony theft and remands for resentencing on the lower charge.

The division also affirms a restitution order for damage to the stolen property.


Summary provided courtesy of Colorado Lawyer.

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