COLORADO SUPREME COURT
April 8, 2019
2019 CO 21. No. 15SC268. Ray v. People.
Jury Instructions—Self-Defense—Burden of Proof—Testimonial Evidence—Jury Deliberations—Abuse of Discretion—Harmless Error.
Ray petitioned for review of the Court of Appeals' judgment affirming his convictions for attempted first degree murder, first degree assault, and accessory to first degree murder. The Supreme Court held that the district court did not err in instructing the jury regarding defendant's assertion that he acted in defense of himself and a third person because (1) the language of a self-defense-related instruction did not permit the jury to reconsider the court's determination, based on the evidence at trial, that the affirmative defense of person was available to defendant; and (2) the jury was properly instructed concerning the People's burden to disprove that, and any, affirmative defense. Although error resulted from the district court's reliance on later-overruled case law permitting the jury to have unrestricted access to a witness recorded interview admitted as an exhibit at trial, when comparing the content of that exhibit with the other evidence admitted at trial, the error was harmless.
The Court of Appeals' judgment was affirmed.
2019 CO 22. No. 17SC862. Hinsdale County Board of Equalization v. HDH Partnership.
Taxation—Record Title—Restrictive Covenants. In this property tax case, the Supreme Court considered whether the restrictive covenants and bylaws of a hunting and fishing club render the club the true "owner" of the club grounds and therefore liable for property taxes, even though the club members hold record fee tide to land parcels that comprise the club grounds.
The Court held that such covenants and bylaws do not render the club the owner of real property for tax purposes. Colorado's property tax scheme reflects legislative intent to assess property taxes to the record fee owners of real property. The parcel owners in this case hold record title to their parcels, which they own in fee simple and can freely sell. They purchased their parcels with notice of, and subject to, the club's restrictive covenants and bylaws, which they can vote to amend or repeal. Because the parcel owners voluntarily agreed to the restrictive covenants and bylaws that facilitate the collective use of their property for recreational purposes, they cannot rely on these same restrictive covenants and bylaws to avoid property tax liability that flows from their record title ownership.
The Court of Appeals' judgment was reversed and the Board of Assessment Appeals' order was reinstated.
2019 CO 23. No. 16S413. Calvert v. Mayberry.
Contracts—Attorney and Client—Attorney Fees. The Supreme Court granted certiorari review to determine the preclusive effect of an attorney disciplinary hearing on a subsequent civil suit. Because of admissions made by the party, the Court did not reach this question and vacated that portion of the Court of Appeals'...