May 19, 2019

Colorado Supreme Court: Remedy for Trial Court’s Disclosure Error to Remand and Allow Defendant Opportunity to Demonstrate Prejudice

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in Zoll v. People on Monday, September 10, 2018.

Disclosure—In Camera Review—Critical Stage.

The supreme court held that when an appellate court determines that the trial court erred in failing to disclose certain documents from a file reviewed in camera, the proper remedy is to remand the case to the trial court with instructions to provide the improperly withheld documents to the parties and to afford the defendant an opportunity to demonstrate that there is a reasonable probability that, had the documents been disclosed before trial, the result of the proceeding would have been different. The court also held that, even if the court of appeals erred in determining that replaying a small portion of a recording in the courtroom during deliberations was not a critical stage of the proceeding that required defendant’s presence, any error in failing to secure defendant’s attendance was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.

Summary provided courtesy of Colorado Lawyer.