Colorado v. LindseyAnnotate this Case
William Lindsey persuaded six investors to advance roughly $3 million toward a new technology that he claimed would harness the energy of bioluminescent algae to light signs and panels. In soliciting these funds, Lindsey told his investors that he had already secured contracts to sell his lighting products to several large clients. As it turned out, neither the technology nor the contracts existed; Lindsey diverted the funds he collected to his own personal use. Trial setting was continued at least seven times in three years. David Tyler was Lindsey’s fourth attorney in this case, and judges had admonished Tyler and Lindsey there would be no more continuances. A month before trial, Tyler moved to withdraw from the case, but his motion was denied after a hearing in front of a different judge who found no irreconcilable conflict. On the eve of trial, Tyler filed another motion, this one challenging Lindsey’s competency. The factual assertions in this motion were the same factual assertions on which Tyler relied during the hearing on the motion to withdraw ten days earlier: Lindsey had failed to be completely forthright with him, to keep promises to furnish information and funds for an effective defense, and to diligently work and communicate with him. In all the years the case had been pending, this was the first time anyone had ever raised a question about Lindsey’s competency. During the hearing on the competency motion, just as during previous hearings, Lindsey was lucid and coherent, showing no signs of incompetency. Tyler believed that Colorado's competency statutes required the trial court to either make a preliminary finding regarding competency or indicate that there was insufficient evidence to do so. But the trial judge found the motion’s factual assertions had nothing to do with competency and did not support a good-faith doubt about Lindsey’s competency. Accordingly, the judge refused to postpone the trial. The case thus proceeded to a jury trial, where Lindsey was convicted of securities fraud and theft. Lindsey then appealed, and a division of the court of appeals vacated his convictions. Because the Colorado Supreme Court found no abuse of discretion by the trial court, it reversed the appeals court's judgment.