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Colorado Court of Appeals to hear arguments at Thornton High School on April 14

Thursday, April 9, 2015

THORNTON, Colo. – The Colorado Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments in two cases on Tuesday, April 14, 2015, at Thornton 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, the 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 firsthand experience in how the Colorado judicial system works 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 Thornton High School are Robert D. Hawthorne (presiding), Steve Bernard and Gale T. Miller.

The two cases are:

  • 14CA0727, John Winkler v. Jason Shaffer: John and Linda Winkler were among a group of people involved in a multi-vehicle pile-up accident on Interstate 25 in northern Colorado during a snowstorm.  They sued the drivers of several vehicles for negligence, including Jason Shaffer, who was driving a semi-tractor/trailer that slid sideways and blocked the highway after he slowed down and changed lanes to avoid a previous accident.  The case went to trial and the jury determined Shaffer was not liable to the Winklers for damages.  The Winklers have asked the Colorado Court of Appeals to review the case, arguing the trial judge committed errors that led to improper expert witness testimony during the trial and provided the jury with defective instructions on the law.
  • 12CA2045, The People of the State of Colorado v. Charles Edward Trogdon: Mr. Trogdon was convicted of 16 counts related to stealing items from several people’s homes in southwestern Colorado while running a pest-extermination business.  He has asked the Colorado Court of Appeals to review his case, arguing in part that police exceeded their authority while executing their initial search warrant at his home.  According to his argument, police searched for and photographed items that were not described in the warrant.  Mr. Trogdon’s attorneys argue that because the first search of his property was improper, later search warrants based on the initial search were invalid, so all the evidence found as a result of those later warrants should not have been allowed as evidence at trial.

The proceedings will begin at 10 a.m. Tuesday, April 14, in the auditorium at Thornton High School, 9351 N. Washington St., Thornton, CO 80229. 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

Editor’s Note:

The documents related to these two cases are located 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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