In re Colorado v. ElmarrAnnotate this Case
In 2009, a jury found defendant Kevin Elmarr guilty of first degree murder for strangling his ex-wife. In an unpublished decision, the court of appeals reversed Elmarr’s conviction and remanded for a new trial, concluding that the trial court erred by excluding evidence of two alternate suspects Before the new trial, the State moved to exclude evidence of similar acts by one of those alternate suspects, as well as out-of-court statements made by that alternate suspect implicating himself in both the other similar acts and the charged crime. The trial court, relying largely on the court of appeals’ decision remanding the case, denied the State's motion. The State appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing that the trial court failed on remand to conduct the proper analysis to determine the admissibility of the alternate suspect evidence, in particular, evidence of other similar acts committed by the alternate suspect and statements made by the alternate suspect to law enforcement. The State contended that this area of the law has generated considerable confusion and asked the Supreme Court to clarify the proper framework for examining the admissibility of such evidence. Upon review, the Court agreed with the State that the trial court failed to conduct the proper analysis and thus make absolute our rule to show cause. The trial court understood the court of appeals’ decision remanding the case to require admission of the alternate suspect However, the court of appeals applied an incorrect framework for analyzing the admissibility of alternate suspect evidence. The Court used the opportunity of this opinion to set forth the proper framework, and remanded this case back to the trial court for further proceedings.