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
In re Edwards v. New Century Hospice  
Date: September 25, 2023
Citation: 2023 CO 49
Docket Number: 23SA91

Justia Opinion Summary: At issue before the Colorado Supreme Court in this matter was a trial court’s order denying immunity to Defendant New Century Hospice, Inc. and its subsidiaries, Defendants Legacy Hospice, LLC, d/b/a New Century Hospice…

Medina v. Colorado  
Date: September 11, 2023
Citation: 2023 CO 46
Docket Number: 21SC765

Justia Opinion Summary: Petitioner Delano Medina pleaded guilty to felony menacing even though he maintained his innocence of that charge. He did so in exchange for the dismissal of several other criminal cases. The trial court found that…

Killmer, Lane & Newman v. B.K.P., Inc.  
Date: September 11, 2023
Citation: 2023 CO 47
Docket Number: 21SC930

Justia Opinion Summary: The Colorado Supreme Court granted review in this case to consider whether the common law litigation privilege for party-generated publicity in pending class action litigation excluded situations in which the identities…

Colorado in interest of H.J.B.  
Date: September 11, 2023
Citation: 2023 CO 48
Docket Number: 22SC670

Justia Opinion Summary: A-J.A.B. tested positive at birth for methamphetamine. H.J.B. (“Mother”) admitted methamphetamine use during her pregnancy. In March 2020, less than a month after A-J.A.B.’s birth, the Adams County Human Services…

Ward v. Colorado  
Date: August 21, 2023
Citation: 2023 CO 45
Docket Number: 23SA150

Justia Opinion Summary: Petitioners, a number of Colorado residents, local officials, voters, counties, and county commissioners, a nonprofit corporation, and a metropolitan district, contended: (1) Senate Bill 23-303 (“SB 303”) and its…

Colorado v. Coats  
Date: August 7, 2023
Citation: 2023 CO 44
Docket Number: 23SA114

Justia Opinion Summary: A Special Tribunal was convened to impose discipline on former Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Coats. The Colorado Commission on Judicial Discipline recommended approval of an Amended Stipulation for Public…

Colorado v. White  
Date: June 26, 2023
Citation: 2023 CO 43
Docket Number: 23SA69

Justia Opinion Summary: Thomas Mitchell was driving when a flat tire forced him to stop in the right-hand lane of traffic. While standing behind his car and removing items from his trunk, another driver, Eli White, struck him, pinning him…

Garcia v. Colorado  
Date: June 20, 2023
Citation: 2022 CO 25
Docket Number: 21SC473

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant-appellant Rafael Garcia murdered his estranged wife’s neighbor in Palisade, Colorado. He immediately fled to Mexico. After unsuccessfully seeking his extradition back to Colorado, the District Attorney’s Office…

Colorado v. McLaughlin  
Date: June 20, 2023
Citation: 2023 CO 38
Docket Number: 21SC506

Justia Opinion Summary: Charles McLaughlin was arrested for driving under the influence after police responded to a call and located him in a parking lot near his truck. McLaughlin’s defense was that he had not been driving. At trial, the State…

Colorado v. Vanderpauye  
Date: June 20, 2023
Citation: 2023 CO 42
Docket Number: 21SC771

Justia Opinion Summary: The common law prohibited anyone with a “direct pecuniary or proprietary interest” in the outcome of a case, including a party, from testifying. Given the direct-interest doctrine, courts also customarily precluded a…

Aurora Public Schools v. A.S. & B.S.  
Date: June 20, 2023
Citation: 2023 CO 39
Docket Number: 22SC824

Justia Opinion Summary: In January 2022, plaintiffs A.S. and her husband B.S. brought a claim under the Child Sexual Abuse Accountability Act (CSAAA or “Act”) against a former high school athletic coach and a school district, alleging that the…

Colorado v. Smith  
Date: June 20, 2023
Citation: 2023 CO 40
Docket Number: 23SA2

Justia Opinion Summary: The State charged Jerrelle Smith with first degree, capital murder. Pertinent here, the State of Colorado statutorily abolished the death penalty for crimes charged on or after July 1, 2020. The Colorado Supreme Court…

Chirinos-Raudales v. Colorado  
Date: June 12, 2023
Citation: 2023 CO 33
Docket Number: 21SC325

Justia Opinion Summary: The State of Colorado charged Dennis Chirinos-Raudales with, among other crimes, sexual assault on a child (“SAOC”) by one in a position of trust, which prohibits sexual contact with persons under eighteen, but whose…

Orellana-Leon v. Colorado  
Date: June 12, 2023
Citation: 2023 CO 34
Docket Number: 21SC340

Justia Opinion Summary: Jose Leonel Orellana-Leon sexually abused his girlfriend’s daughter, L.V., from the time she was seven or eight years old until she was fifteen. When L.V. was fifteen years old, she told her father and stepmother about…

Rios-Vargas v. Colorado  
Date: June 12, 2023
Citation: 2023 CO 35
Docket Number: 21SC458

Justia Opinion Summary: There was no reason to believe defendant Nora Hilda Rios-Vargas did not commit the burglary with which she was charged: at trial, she argued the crime was committed by a nonparty alternate suspect, Sylvia Villalobos, who…

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.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.