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Colorado Supreme Court to hear arguments at Denver East High School on Sept. 29

Thursday, September 24, 2015

DENVER – The Colorado Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in two cases on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015, at East High School in Denver 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 months of the arguments.

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

The two cases are:

  • 14SC224: Salynda E. Fleury v. IntraWest Winter Park Operations Corp.: Salynda Fleury, the widow of a man killed in an in-bounds avalanche at the Winter Park ski resort, sued the resort claiming negligence and wrongful death. A trial court dismissed her lawsuit after concluding that IntraWest, the company operating the resort, could not be held liable because it was immune under the Colorado Ski Safety Act. A division of the Court of Appeals agreed, and the Colorado Supreme Court granted Ms. Fleury’s request to review the case. The Ski Safety Act does not include avalanches in a list of “inherent dangers and risks of skiing,” but the trial court and two of the three Court of Appeals judges who reviewed the case determined avalanches fall within the law’s definition of inherent dangers and risks of skiing. A third judge, in a dissenting opinion, said Ms. Fleury’s lawsuit could proceed because an avalanche occurring on an open, designated ski trail does not constitute an inherent danger and risk of skiing. The Supreme Court’s primary task in this case is to interpret the meaning of the term “inherent dangers and risks of skiing.”
  • 13SC465: People of the State of Colorado v. Eduardo Perez: The Colorado Supreme Court agreed to review this identity theft case after the Court of Appeals reversed the conviction of Eduardo Perez. A jury had found him guilty of identity theft for using a Colorado woman’s Social Security number to obtain several jobs, despite his argument that prosecutors failed to prove he knew the Social Security number belonged to an actual person rather than being a fictitious set of numbers. The Court of Appeals agreed, holding that to convict a defendant under the state’s identity theft statute, prosecutors must prove the defendant knew the identifying information, such as a Social Security number, he or she used belonged to a real person. The state appealed, arguing that prosecutors needed to prove only that Mr. Perez used identifying information that did not belong to him to obtain something of value (in this case, a job).

The proceedings will begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015 in the auditorium at East High School, 1600 City Park Esplanade, Denver, CO 80206. 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.

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