Colorado Supreme Court Decisions

The Colorado Supreme Court consists of seven justices, including a Chief Justice and six Associate Justices. All seven of the justices hear each case brought before the Supreme Court in a full panel, known as en banc review. These cases generally involve appeals from the Colorado Court of Appeals, but the Colorado Supreme Court also has direct jurisdiction over certain types of cases identified by Article VI of the Colorado Constitution. These include habeas corpus cases, criminal appeals, challenges to the constitutionality of statutes, Public Utilities Commission matters, and matters involving judicial misconduct, among others. The Colorado Supreme Court has the exclusive authority to set rules of practice and procedure that govern civil and criminal cases in courts throughout the state.

Justices on the Court are appointed by the Governor of Colorado, rather than being elected by voters. When a vacancy arises, the Colorado Supreme Court Nominating Commission must meet within 30 days to review candidates. To be eligible, a candidate must be under 72 years old, registered to vote in Colorado, and licensed to practice law in the state for the last five years. Once the Commission selects two or three finalists, the Governor will choose the new justice from that group. If the Governor does not make a selection, the current Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court will make the decision. Once a justice has been selected, they will serve for at least two years and then seek retention in the next general election. If they are retained, they will go through a retention election every 10 years thereafter.

The Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court serves as the chair of the Colorado Supreme Court Nominating Commission. The Chief Justice appoints chief judges in the Court of Appeals and district courts, and the Chief Justice has the authority to appoint other judges to serve on state courts. The other justices elect the Chief Justice.

Browse Opinions From the Colorado Supreme Court

Recent Decisions From the Colorado Supreme Court
Colorado v. Struckmeyer  
Date: October 19, 2020
Citation: 2020 CO 76
Docket Number: 19SC50

Justia Opinion Summary: Michael Struckmeyer was convicted by jury of class 3 felony child abuse (knowingly or recklessly), and class 4 child abuse (criminal negligence). A division of the court of appeals concluded that the verdicts were logica...

Colorado v. Jackson  
Date: September 21, 2020
Citation: 2020 CO 75
Docket Number: 18SC607

Justia Opinion Summary: Brandon Jackson was convicted, as a complicitor, of both first degree murder and attempted first degree murder after his codefendant aimed at, shot, and killed Y.M. under the mistaken belief that Y.M. was E.O. The Colora...

Thompson v. Colorado  
Date: September 14, 2020
Citation: 2020 CO 72
Docket Number: 18SC543

Justia Opinion Summary: Steven Thompson was a real estate developer and sole member and manager of SGD Timber Canyon, LLC (“Timber Canyon”), a real estate company that held an interest in a number of undeveloped lots in Castle Rock, Colorado. T...

Barrett Corp. v. Lembke  
Date: September 14, 2020
Citation: 2020 CO 73
Docket Number: 18SC760

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2015, the owners of a 13,000-acre tract of land known as 70 Ranch successfully petitioned to include their tract in a special district. After 70 Ranch was incorporated into the district, the district began taxing the...

Colorado v. Rigsby  
Date: September 14, 2020
Citation: 2020 CO 74
Docket Number: 18SC923

Justia Opinion Summary: Derek Rigsby was charged with three counts of second degree assault for smashing a glass into someone’s face during a bar fight. The three charges represented alternative methods of committing the same crime. The jury fo...

Gonzales v. Colorado  
Date: September 14, 2020
Citation: 2020 CO 71
Docket Number: 19SC292

Justia Opinion Summary: After the victim’s murder in this case, his sister-in-law discovered a peculiar microcassette among his belongings. On that cassette was a recording of a potentially incriminating voicemail message. A police detective la...

Fisher v. Colorado  
Date: September 14, 2020
Citation: 2020 CO 70
Docket Number: 19SC98

Justia Opinion Summary: On the third day of Gregory Fisher’s trial for five counts of sexual assault on a child, and after the prosecution had presented the majority of its case, the prosecution moved to amend the date range of the charged offe...

Colorado v. Monroe  
Date: August 17, 2020
Citation: 2020 CO 67
Docket Number: 18SC708

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant Sheila Monroe argued that she stabbed a fellow bus passenger in the neck out of self-defense. She asserted her legal authority to do so without first retreating to a place of no escape. Yet, during the closing...

Archuleta v. Colorado  
Date: July 27, 2020
Citation: 2020 CO 63M
Docket Number: 19SC453

Justia Opinion Summary: In this tragic case involving a charge of child abuse resulting in death, the issue presented for the Colorado Supreme Court's review centered on whether the defendant Sandra Archuleta was entitled to a modified unanimit...

Ritchie v. Polis  
Date: July 1, 2020
Citation: 2020 CO 69
Docket Number: 20SC453

Justia Opinion Summary: On March 10, 2020, Colorado Governor Jared Polis declared a disaster emergency pursuant to the Colorado Disaster Emergency Act as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Since that time, the Governor relied on his auth...

Colorado v. Monroe  
Date: June 29, 2020
Citation: 2020 CO 67
Docket Number: 18SC708

Justia Opinion Summary: Colorado has long followed the no-duty-to-retreat rule in self-defense cases. During the closing arguments of Shiela Monroe’s trial, the prosecution repeatedly argued that Monroe didn’t act reasonably in self-defense bec...

Rocky Mountain Gun Owners v. Polis  
Date: June 29, 2020
Citation: 2020 CO 66
Docket Number: 18SC817

Justia Opinion Summary: In response to high-profile mass shootings in the state, the Columbine High School shootings of 1999 and the Aurora movie theater shooting in 2012. In both attacks, the shooters used large-capacity ammunition magazines....

In re Lucy & Meresa  
Date: June 29, 2020
Citation: 2020 CO 68
Docket Number: 20SA120

Justia Opinion Summary: The Colorado Supreme Court issued a rule to show cause in two cases out of Gilpin County, hoping to provide guidance on whether a trial court could grant the prosecution’s contested request for a continuance with a tolli...

Colorado v. Figueroa-Lemus  
Date: June 22, 2020
Citation: 2020 CO 59
Docket Number: 18SC572

Justia Opinion Summary: Both the State and respondent-defendant Eswin Figueroa-Lemus petitioned for review of the court of appeals’ judgment affirming the denial of the defendant’s motion to withdraw his guilty plea. Defendant, a lawful permane...

Colorado v. Wester-Gravelle  
Date: June 22, 2020
Citation: 2020 CO 64
Docket Number: 18sc624

Justia Opinion Summary: De Etta Wester-Gravelle worked as a certified nursing assistant for a company called Interim Healthcare. During the time period in question, the company assigned her to care for a patient, W.M., who had suffered a stroke...

The opinions published on Justia State Caselaw are sourced from individual state court sites. These court opinions may not be the official published versions, and you should check your local court rules before citing to them. We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site, or the information linked to on the state site.