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Colorado Supreme Court to hear arguments at Gunnison High School on May 10, 2018

Thursday, May 3, 2018

DENVER – The Colorado Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in two cases on Thursday, May 10, 2018, at Gunnison High School 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 provide Colorado high school students insight regarding 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 months of the arguments.

All seven justices hear cases together. They are Chief Justice Nancy E. Rice and Justices Nathan B. Coats, Monica M. Márquez, Brian D. Boatright, William W. Hood III, Richard L. Gabriel and Melissa Hart.

The two cases are: 

  • 15SC754, People of the State of Colorado v. Edward Kevin DeGreat: The Colorado Supreme Court agreed to review Edward Kevin DeGreat’s conviction on a charge of aggravated robbery to determine whether the Court of Appeals was correct in concluding that the right to use self-defense can apply to justify the taking of services in a robbery. Mr. DeGreat and two neighbors shared a cab ride home in 2008. When they arrived, the two neighbors left the cab and Mr. DeGreat realized he didn’t have enough cash to pay the fare. Mr. DeGreat argued the driver tried to lock him in the cab, and after he climbed into the back seat and the driver unlocked the doors, the two began to fight outside the cab. Mr. DeGreat said he felt a burning sensation on his chin and saw blood on his shirt. Believing the driver had a weapon, Mr. DeGreat stabbed him with a pocket knife, and the driver fled. The driver argued Mr. DeGreat attacked him with a knife after Mr. DeGreat became agitated and climbed into the back seat. The trial court allowed Mr. DeGreat to argue self-defense on charges of attempted murder and assault, but refused to allow a self-defense argument on the robbery charge. Mr. DeGreat appealed, and a division of the Court of Appeals overturned the robbery conviction, saying the trial court erred in refusing to allow Mr. DeGreat to argue self-defense against the aggravated robbery charge. Prosecutors appealed that opinion to the Supreme Court.

 

  • 17SC15, Jared J. Przekurat v. Christopher Torres, et al.: The Colorado Supreme Court agreed to review this case to resolve a novel issue: whether a social host is liable for damages when, unknown to the host, an underage person drinks alcohol in a place provided by the host, and the underage person causes injury to another. Four housemates, Christopher Torres; Samuel Stimson; Peter Stimson; and Mitchell Davis, shared a house in Boulder and held a party to celebrate Davis’ 24th birthday and Torres’ graduation from college. Among the attendees were Jared Przekurat, who was 21 at the time, and his friend, 20-year-old Hank Sieck. There was no evidence that anyone told the hosts Sieck was under 21. Sieck, who had been drinking at the party, left with Przekurat and another person, with Sieck driving Przekurat’s car. Sieck drove at speeds in excess of 100 mph, lost control of the car and collided with an embankment. All three occupants survived, but Przekurat sustained severe injuries which left him requiring around-the-clock care for life. Przekurat’s father sued the hosts on his son’s behalf, but a trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the hosts because Przekurat failed to establish both that the hosts knew Sieck was under 21 and that, despite that knowledge, still provided a place for him to drink alcohol. On appeal, the Colorado Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s ruling, and Przekurat appealed to the Supreme Court.

 

The proceedings will begin at 9 a.m. Thursday, May 10, 2018 at Gunnison High School, 800 W. Ohio Ave., Gunnison, CO 81230. 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 Supreme Court justices.

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/Supreme_Court/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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