Colorado v. Wester-GravelleAnnotate this Case
De Etta Wester-Gravelle worked as a certified nursing assistant for a company called Interim Healthcare. During the time period in question, the company assigned her to care for a patient, W.M., who had suffered a stroke and needed assistance with tasks like bathing. W.M.’s partner, E.G., was also in poor health and could not perform such tasks for W.M. Interim Healthcare assigned Wester-Gravelle to visit W.M. five times per week for two hours each day. At the conclusion of each shift, Wester-Gravelle was required to have either W.M. or E.G. sign Wester-Gravelle’s shift chart to verify that she had been there. The charts would then serve as a record pursuant to which Interim Healthcare would pay Wester-Gravelle for her work. Wester-Gravelle had been assigned to work with W.M. for several months when, in late July or early August of 2015, her supervisor, Lisa Conley, made a routine visit to W.M.’s house during a time when Wester-Gravelle had been scheduled to be there. When Conley arrived, however, Wester-Gravelle was not there. Conley performed routine tasks of her own that day, and in the course of her conversation with W.M. and E.G., they said that they had not seen Wester-Gravelle in several weeks. After an investigation, the matter was transferred to the Colorado Attorney General, who prosecuted Wester-Gravelle on one count of forgery. The issue this case presented for the Colorado Supreme Court's review was whether the court of appeals erred in concluding the prosecution had an obligation to elect the specific document or documents on which it would rely for conviction or, alternatively, that Wester-Gravelle was entitled to a "modified unanimity instruction" requiring the jurors to agree unanimously that she had committed the same underlying act of forgery or that she had committed all of the underlying acts. The Supreme Court concluded the trial court did not plainly err when it did not, sua sponte, require an election or give a modified unanimity instruction because any error was neither obvious nor substantial. The court of appeals' judgment was reversed and the matter remanded for consideration of Wester-Gravelle's remaining contentions on appeal.