In re Colorado v. OwensAnnotate this Case
Defendants Sir Mario Owens and Robert Ray petitioned the Colorado Supreme Court for relief from a series of discovery rulings by the district court relative to post-conviction proceedings in their respective death-penalty cases. Each had moved to discover the prosecution’s investigation of the claims raised by Owens’s motion for post-conviction review, on the grounds that such disclosure was required either by Crim. P. 16 or by the federal or state constitution. The district court ruled that Crim. P. 16 did not impose obligations on the prosecution with respect to its preparation to meet the defendants’ post-conviction claims, but that the prosecution continued to have obligations to disclose information that was both exculpatory and constitutionally material, without regard for the time of or impetus for its discovery. Upon review, the Supreme Court found the district court did not err in finding Crim. P. 16 inapplicable to information acquired in response to the defendants’ post-conviction claims. Because, however, the Court has previously held not only that a prosecutor’s constitutional obligation to disclose information favorable to an accused extended through the appeal of a death sentence, but that district courts should order the disclosure of some possibly exculpatory material, despite being unable to find a reasonable probability that nondisclosure would change the result of the proceeding. The cases were remanded for the district court to apply the due process standard the Court announced in "Colorado v. Rodriguez," (786 P.2d 1079 (Colo. 1989)).