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Colorado Court of Appeals to hear arguments at Pine Creek High School on Oct. 24

Monday, October 22, 2018

DENVER – The Colorado Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments in two cases at Pine Creek High School in Colorado Springs on Wednesday, Oct. 24, 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 Pine Creek High School are David Furman, Stephanie Dunn and Rebecca R. Freyre.

The two cases are: 

  • 17CA1913, City and County of Denver v. Rebekah Butterfield: Rebekah Butterfield claimed in a lawsuit that she was injured after a concert at Red Rocks west of Denver when she tripped and fell on a walkway that was under construction. In the lawsuit, she said a plastic construction fence and other safety considerations used by the city of Denver, which owns Red Rocks, were inadequate. Denver asked the trial court to dismiss the case, arguing it was covered by governmental immunity because it had taken appropriate steps to protect pedestrians’ safety. The trial court disagreed, ruling that Ms. Butterfield’s lawsuit could proceed, but Denver asked the Colorado Court of Appeals to review that ruling. In briefs filed with the Court of Appeals, Denver argued it was covered by governmental immunity because the construction fence was sufficient to ensure pedestrians’ safety and that city workers and officials could not have known that somebody apparently tore down the fence after the construction crew left the area for the evening of the concert Ms. Butterfield attended. In her brief, Ms. Butterfield’s attorneys argued at least one employee saw that the fence had come down but took no action, and that the trial court was correct in allowing the lawsuit to proceed.

 

  • 16CA2147, People of the State of Colorado v. Eric Manly: Eric Manly has asked the Colorado Court of Appeals to review his case after he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 22 years in prison. Mr. Manly was a juvenile when he and a group of friends were involved in a fight with people who had come to his home for a party. After he was injured in the fight, Mr. Manly retrieved a gun and fatally wounded one of those people. Mr. Manly was charged as an adult with numerous charges, most of which were dismissed under his plea agreement with prosecutors. After sentencing, and after the trial court denied a motion to reduce his sentence, Mr. Manly filed a motion for post-conviction relief with the trial court, arguing his attorneys didn’t do enough to make sure he understood the plea agreement (he argued he believed he could be sentenced only to the Youth Offender System, not directly to an adult prison), and therefore he should be allowed to withdraw his guilty plea. The trial court ruled that the defense attorneys’ actions were acceptable and that Mr. Manly’s rights were not violated by his attorneys’ actions. Mr. Manly appealed that ruling, asking the Court of Appeals to reverse it.

 

The proceedings will begin at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 24, at Pine Creek High School, 10750 Thunder Mountain Ave., Colorado Springs, CO 80908. 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=Fall&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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