Colorado v. WoodAnnotate this Case
At issue before the Colorado Supreme Court in this case was whether Patrick Wood suffer simultaneous convictions for first-degree felony murder (a class 1 felony) and second-degree murder (a class 2 felony) in 1987 for the death of the same victim. In addressing Wood’s double jeopardy claim, the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit answered the first question in the affirmative and addressed the second question by conditionally granting Wood’s habeas corpus petition. As a result, it remanded the case to the federal district court with instructions to vacate the first-degree murder conviction and allow the second-degree murder conviction to remain in place, unless the state district court decided within a reasonable time which of the two murder convictions to vacate. The Colorado Supreme Court determined the Tenth Circuit misread Wood’s mittimus, and that error set in motion a "Palsgrafian chain of rippling events" that ultimately landed the case back before the Colorado Supreme Court. Wood’s mittimus actually reflected a single murder conviction: for first-degree felony murder. Thus, no double jeopardy error existed, and no remedy was necessary. "[T]he only error was in believing there was an error."