Colorado Supreme Court has been dinged by SCOTUS twice this term

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SCOTUS revered SCoCO in Nelson v. Colorado and Pena-Rodriguez v. Colorado.


The majority opinion in Nelson v. Colorado, by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, is straightforward enough: Shannon Nelson and Alonzo Madden are entitled to refunds of court costs and restitution they paid following criminal convictions that were subsequently reversed. Nelson was convicted of abusing her children but acquitted by a second jury after her conviction was reversed because of trial error. Madden’s conviction on child prostitution and assault charges was reversed by the Colorado Supreme Court and the state declined to prosecute him again.


Pena-Rodriguez v. Colorado

Holding: When a juror makes a clear statement indicating that he or she relied on racial stereotypes or animus to convict a criminal defendant, the Sixth Amendment requires that the no-impeachment rule give way in order to permit the trial court to consider the evidence of the juror’s statement and any resulting denial of the jury trial guarantee.

Judgment: Reversed and remanded, 5-3, in an opinion by Justice Kennedy on March 6, 2017. Justice Thomas filed a dissenting opinion. Justice Alito filed a dissenting opinion, in which Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Thomas joined.


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