Rael v. ColoradoAnnotate this Case
The issue presented for the Colorado Supreme Court’s review in this case was whether it was reversible error for a trial court in a criminal case to provide the deliberating jury with “unfettered and unsupervised access” to a crime scene video and a video of a police interview of defendant Ignacio Ray “Mike” Rael. A unanimous division of the court of appeals concluded that the trial court did not err in either regard. The Supreme Court agreed with the result reached by the appellate court, namely, that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in allowing the jury unfettered access to the two videos during deliberations. In the Court’s view, the jury was entitled to access the non-testimonial crime scene video because that video did not present the same risk of undue emphasis as do videos documenting witnesses’ out-of-court, testimonial statements. The Court also concluded based on the longstanding rule that a defendant’s confession was not subject to the same limitations during deliberations as the out-of-court statements of other witnesses, that the jury was entitled to access the interview video.