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June 23, 2009

Colorado Supreme Court Utilizes Rule of Lenity in Case involving Retroactivity of Effective Date

The court's summary captures it, but it's an interesting analytical read:


In this original proceeding, the Supreme Court was asked to determine what statute of limitations applied to the crimes with which defendant was charged. The statute contains two contradictory limitations provisions, each compelling a different result in this case. Because of the conflicting statutory language, and because the Court was unable to discern the legislative intent behind the statute, the Court could not determine which limitations period applied. As a result, the Court applied the rule of lenity and held that the charges against defendant were barred by the ten-year statute of limitations in effect when the crimes allegedly were committed. The Court overruled the Court of Appeals’ recent decision in People v. Boston, ___ P.3d ___, No. 07CR2186, 2009 WL 400073 (Colo.App. Feb. 19, 2009), in which the Court of Appeals reached the opposite result the Supreme Court reached in this case. The rule to show cause was made absolute and the case was remanded for proceedings consistent with this opinion.


People v. Summers, __ P.3d __ (Colo. May 26, 2009).

June 23, 2009 | Permalink

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