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Colorado Court of Appeals to hear oral arguments at Conifer High School on May 16

Thursday, May 11, 2023

DENVER – A division of the Colorado Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments in two cases at Conifer High School on Tuesday, May 16, before an audience of students. Limited public seating will be available.

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 the cases at Conifer High School are David Furman, Ted C. Tow III, and Sueanna P. Johnson.

The two cases are: 

  • 22CA761, Maggie Jansma v. Colorado Department of Revenue, Motor Vehicle Division: Maggie Jansma asked the Colorado Court of Appeals to review a trial court’s affirmation of an administrative hearing officer’s decision to revoke her driver’s license. Jansma was arrested in Loveland in early 2022 for suspicion of driving under the influence. After she requested a hearing regarding revocation of her driver’s license, one of the arresting officers sent to the Motor Vehicle Division a form indicating that Jansma had refused to submit to chemical testing for intoxication under the state expressed consent law, and indicating that the officer completed the form at some date after the arrest. In her brief, Jansma’s attorney argued that there was no evidence in the record regarding when, or even if, a police officer requested a chemical test or how Jansma responded to any such request. The attorney further argued that simply checking a box on the form indicating Jansma had refused chemical testing was inadequate evidence to support revocation of Jansma’s driver’s license. In their brief, prosecutors argued that the police officer’s affidavit indicating that Jansma refused chemical testing provided sufficient evidence to support revocation.
  • 21CA1645, The People of the State of Colorado v. Michelle Re Nae Bialas: Michelle Re Nae Bialas asked the Colorado Court of Appeals to review her convictions and 12-year prison sentence on charges of assault and violation of a protection order, arguing that the trial court improperly removed her family from the courtroom during trial. The trial (her second trial stemming from the same incident following an earlier trial and review by the Court of Appeals) occurred while pandemic-related safety protocols were in place, and to promote social distancing, the trial court scattered jurors throughout the courtroom and streamed the proceedings to a separate room in the same courthouse. During a bench conference, the judge and the attorneys left the courtroom, and jurors later reported to the judge that they had overheard somebody talking about Bialas’ first trial. The trial court moved spectators, including family members of the defendant and alleged victim, to a different room to watch the livestream of the rest of the trial. Bialas’ attorney argued in her brief that decision violated of Bialas’ constitutional right to a public trial, and that the court failed to making findings to support the closure. In their brief, prosecutors argued that the court was not closed to the defendant’s family members because they still were able to observe the trial, and that the court made sufficient findings to justify moving them.

The proceedings will begin at 10 a.m. Tuesday, May 16, in the library at Conifer High School (10441 Highway 73 in Conifer). 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. Visitors are required to wear a face covering. Video recordings of the two arguments will be available online within one to two days of the arguments at

Editor’s Note:

Documents related to these two cases are available at:

Additional information on the Courts in the Community program is available at:

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 or at 720-625-5811 if you plan to attend.

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