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Colorado Court of Appeals to hear arguments at Weld Central High School on March 20

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

DENVER – The Colorado Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments in two cases at Weld Central High School in Keenesburg on Tuesday, March 20, 2018, before an audience of students. The public also is invited to attend.

The visit is part of the Colorado Judicial Branch’s Courts in the Community, an outreach program the Colorado Supreme Court and Court of Appeals initiated on Law Day (May 1), 1986. The Courts in the Community program was developed to give Colorado high school students insight into the Colorado judicial system and illustrate how disputes are resolved in a democratic society. These are not mock proceedings. The court will hear arguments in actual cases from which it will issue opinions. The court generally issues opinions within a few weeks of the arguments.

The 22 judges of the Colorado Court of Appeals sit in divisions of three judges to hear cases. Judges hearing cases at Weld Central High School are David Furman, Terry Fox and Karen M. Ashby.

The two cases are: 

  • 17CA0595, City of Lafayette v. Town of Erie Urban Renewal Authority: The City of Lafayette asked the Colorado Court of Appeals to review a trial court’s order dismissing a case in which the city sought to acquire through condemnation a 22-acre parcel owned by the Town of Erie Urban Renewal Authority. The parties agreed the case presented an unprecedented issue in Colorado, where one municipality sought to use eminent domain to acquire property within the boundaries of an adjacent municipality. Lafayette began condemnation proceedings to preserve the tract as an open space buffer between the municipalities after the urban renewal authority began planning a large shopping center on the site, which is adjacent to a Lafayette residential neighborhood. The urban renewal authority successfully asked the trial court to dismiss the condemnation action. The trial court ruled that Lafayette had not proved the condemnation was for a proper public purpose and had not acted in good faith. Erie officials argued in briefs that the court’s dismissal was proper, saying Lafayette did not attempt to preserve the property until it learned of Erie’s plans to develop it.

 

  • 16CA0400, People of the State of Colorado v. Gabriel A. Tresco: Gabriel Tresco asked the Colorado Court of Appeals to review his conviction and eight-year prison sentence for second-degree assault. Mr. Tresco was charged after he punched a man in the parking lot of a bar. In his briefs, Mr. Tresco argued the trial court improperly refused to allow him to hire his own attorney rather than be represented by a public defender. He also argued the court improperly allowed testimony from a prosecution expert witness, saying the prosecutors had failed to disclose information regarding the expert’s anticipated testimony that the victim suffered nerve damage as a result of the assault. He also argued that during the sentencing hearing, the court should not have allowed prosecutors to introduce information about Mr. Tresco’s gang affiliation, which the defense argued occurred many years before the incident and was unrelated to the case. Prosecutors argued in their brief that Mr. Tresco never showed he was entitled to substitute counsel, and that any error regarding the expert witness’ testimony did not affect Mr. Tresco’s right to a fair trial. Prosecutors also argued that in sentencing Mr. Tresco, the trial court properly admitted information regarding his gang affiliation but ultimately did not rely on that information when sentencing Mr. Tresco.

 

The proceedings will begin at 10 a.m. Tuesday, March 20, at Weld Central High School, 4715 County Road 59, Keenesburg, CO 80643. A question-and-answer session, during which the students may ask questions of the attorneys, will follow the arguments in each case. At the conclusion of the second argument, the students also will have the opportunity to participate in a question-and-answer session with the Court of Appeals judges.

There will be a limited number of seats for the public. Audio recordings from the two arguments will be available online within one to two days of the arguments at http://www.courts.state.co.us/Courts/Court_Of_Appeals/Oral_Arguments/Index.cfm.

 

 

Editor’s Note:

The documents related to these two cases are located at: https://www.courts.state.co.us/Courts/Education/Materials.cfm?s=Spring&y=2018

Additional information on the Courts in the Community program is available at: http://www.courts.state.co.us/Courts/Education/Community.cfm

News media organizations interested in recording the arguments may contact Jon Sarché at the State Court Administrator’s Office (contact information below). The following pages contain information about expanded media coverage.

We will be reserving seats for journalists. Please contact Jon Sarché at jon.sarche@judicial.state.co.us or at 720-625-5811 if you plan to attend.

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