Gorman v. People

Decision Date26 June 2000
Docket Number No. 99SC94, No. 99SC145.
PartiesKenneth C. GORMAN, Petitioner, v. The PEOPLE of the State of Colorado, Respondent. Kim Hastings, Petitioner, v. The People of the State of Colorado, Respondent.
CourtColorado Supreme Court

19 P.3d 662

Kenneth C. GORMAN, Petitioner,
v.
The PEOPLE of the State of Colorado, Respondent.
Kim Hastings, Petitioner,
v.
The People of the State of Colorado, Respondent

Nos. 99SC94, 99SC145.

Supreme Court of Colorado, En Banc.

June 26, 2000.


As Modified July 24, 2000.1

19 P.3d 663
David Kaplan, Colorado State Public Defender, Karen M. Gerash and Elizabeth Griffin, Deputy State Public Defenders, Denver, Colorado, Attorneys for Petitioners

Ken Salazar, Attorney General, Barbara McDonnell, Chief Deputy Attorney General, Alan J. Gilbert, Solicitor General, Evan W. Jones, Assistant Attorney General, Appellate Division, Denver, Colorado, Attorneys for Respondents.

Justice HOBBS delivered the Opinion of the Court.

Colorado's contributing to the delinquency of a minor statute provides that any person "who induces, aids, or encourages a child to violate any federal or state law, municipal or county ordinance, or court order" commits a felony. § 18-6-701, 6 C.R.S. (1999). We granted certiorari and consolidated these two cases to determine whether the culpable mental state of "knowingly" applies to the age element of the statute.2 We agree with the trial court and court of appeals in both cases that it does not. Accordingly, we uphold the convictions of Kenneth C. Gorman and Kim Hastings (collectively "defendants").

I.

A. Gorman

On September 18, 1995, an informant for the Lakewood police department arranged a drug buy between himself and James Smith (Smith), a minor. The informant made arrangements with Smith to purchase approximately two to three pounds of marijuana. At this time, Lakewood police were targeting Smith and his unknown source for dealing marijuana.

The informant, who was wearing a pager-like recording device, met Smith in a store parking lot. After the informant gave Smith some of the money, Smith retrieved the marijuana from a car parked nearby and brought it to the informant's car. When the informant gave the agreed-upon signal, the police approached and arrested Smith. The police also arrested Kenneth C. Gorman (Gorman), the owner and occupant of the car Smith had visited for the marijuana. They found the informant's money and several bags of marijuana in Gorman's car.

Gorman was charged with several offenses, including contributing to the delinquency of a minor. See § 18-6-701. Gorman's trial commenced on September 24, 1996. During trial, Gorman, acting pro se,3 introduced into evidence a videotaped statement he gave to the police after his arrest. In that statement, Gorman told police that he assumed

19 P.3d 664
Smith was seventeen or eighteen years old. However, the police officer who arrested Gorman testified that, previous to the video-taped statement, Gorman told him that Smith was sixteen or seventeen years old. In his closing statement, Gorman argued that he believed Smith to be over the age of eighteen

B. Hastings

On January 31, 1996, Kim L. Hastings (Hastings) was at home recuperating from back surgery and took medication, including Diazepam, for pain control. Hastings's son brought some friends home, including a girl he introduced to his mother as "Desiree." "Desiree" was in fact a thirteen-year-old runaway named Angelina. Hastings testified at trial that she believed Angelina to be one of her son's eighteen-year-old friends, who is actually named Desiree. She claimed that she did not find out Angelina was thirteen until the following day.

Angelina testified that Hastings offered Angelina some of her pain medication pills. Hastings disagreed, and testified that although Angelina asked Hastings for Valium (a brand of Diazepam), Hastings refused, and instead gave Angelina two ibuprofen pills. The next morning, police knocked on Hastings's door, looking for Angelina, whom they knew to be a runaway. They took Angelina to the police station where she told the officers that Hastings had given her six brownish pills; police then brought Angelina to the hospital for examination. Hospital staff told police that Angelina's symptoms and demeanor were consistent with use of Diazepam.

The police executed a search warrant of Hastings's apartment wherein they seized the remaining Diazepam pills, which were green in color. Police brought Hastings to the police station for questioning; during her interview, Hastings initially denied giving Angelina any pills. She then confessed to giving Angelina two Diazepam tablets but subsequently recanted the confession, asserting that it was obtained by coercion.

Hastings was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor. See § 18-6-701. Her trial began on October 1, 1996.

C. Procedural History

The same district court judge presided over both the Gorman and Hastings trials. In both cases, the judge instructed the jury on the elements of contributing to the delinquency of a minor in accordance with the pattern Colorado jury instruction, COLJI-CRIM. No. 22:11 (1993 Supp.), which provides:

The elements of the crime of contributing to the delinquency of a minor as charged in count five are:
1. That the defendant,
2. in the State of Colorado, at or about the date and place charged,
3. knowingly,
4. induced, aided, or encouraged,
5. a person under the age of eighteen,
6. to violate a state law, to-wit: [Distribution of Marihuana, as defined in these instructions.] [Unlawful Use of a Controlled Substance Schedule IV, Diazepam, as defined in these instructions.]

During jury deliberations, both juries sent a note to the trial court inquiring whether "knowingly" applied to the age element in the contributing to the delinquency of a minor instructions. In Gorman, the jury inquired:

On Count # five: Does the word "knowingly" apply to only element # 4 "induced, aided, or encouraged," or does it apply to element # 5 also "a person under the age of eighteen"[?] In other words did the defendant need to know that the person he sold the marihuana was under eighteen at the time of the crime[?]

In Hastings, the question from the jury was:

On count one — does "knowingly" refer to Angelina being under 18 as a fact or as Kim knowing she was under 18? Did the prosecution have to prove that Kim was aware she was under 18? (for count one).

Over the defendants' objections, the trial court submitted a supplemental instruction to the jury. In both cases it stated:

In response to your question, you are instructed that the mental culpability of "knowingly" as defined previously in the
19 P.3d 665
instructions applies only to the element of inducing, aiding, or encouraging a violation of state law under the elements of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. It does not apply to element 5 requiring the other person to be under the age of eighteen.

Gorman's jury subsequently found him guilty of two counts of distribution of marijuana, see § 18-18-406(8)(b)(I), 6 C.R.S. (1999); possession of greater than eight ounces of marijuana, see § 18-18-406(4)(b)(I), 6 C.R.S. (1999); conspiracy to distribute marijuana, see §§ 18-2-201(1), -18-406(8)(b)(I), 6 C.R.S. (1999); and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, see § 18-6-701. The trial court sentenced Gorman to the custody of the Department of Corrections for three years. In the Hastings case, the jury entered a guilty verdict for contributing to the delinquency of a minor, see § 18-6-701, and distribution of a schedule IV controlled substance, see § 18-18-405(2)(c)(I), 6 C.R.S. (1999). The trial court sentenced Hastings to probation.

Defendants appealed and, in published opinions, the court of appeals affirmed. See People v. Hastings, 983 P.2d 78, 80 (Colo. App.1999); People v. Gorman, 983 P.2d 92, 92 (Colo.App.1998). Both divisions concluded that the affirmative defense found in section 18-3-406(1) manifested a legislative intent that the culpable mental state of "knowingly" did not apply to the juvenile's age. We affirm the judgment of the court of appeals in both cases, but for a different reason.

II.

We hold that the culpable mental state of "knowingly" does not apply to the age element of the crime of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

A. Mens Rea Requirement

Section 18-6-701(1) classifies the act of contributing to the delinquency of a minor as a class 4 felony. It states:

Any
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