People By and Through VanMeveren v. District Court In and For Larimer County, Nos. 26590

Docket NºNos. 26590
Citation187 Colo. 333, 531 P.2d 626
Case DateFebruary 03, 1975
CourtSupreme Court of Colorado

Page 626

531 P.2d 626
187 Colo. 333
The PEOPLE of the State of Colorado, By and Through their
duly elected and appointed representatives, Stuart A.
VanMEVEREN, District Attorney, and Loren B. Schall,
Assistant District Attorney, Eighth Judicial District, State
of Colorado, Petitioners,
v.
The DISTRICT COURT IN AND FOR the COUNTY OF LARIMER, State
of Colorado, and the Honorable Conrad L. Ball, one
of the judges thereof, Respondents.
Frank Otto BELLMANN, Petitioner,
v.
The DISTRICT COURT IN AND FOR the COUNTY OF ARAPAHOE IN the
EIGHTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT and the Honorable
Richard D. Greene, Judge thereof, Respondents.
Nos. 26590, 26644.
Supreme Court of Colorado, En Banc.
Feb. 3, 1975.

[187 Colo. 335]

Page 627

Stuart A. VanMeveren, Dist. Atty., Loren B. Schall, Asst. Dist. Atty., Fort Collins, for petitioners, in No. 26590.

Rollie R. Rogers, Colorado State Public Defender, Denver, James F. Dumas, Jr., Chief Deputy State Public Defender, Edwin L. Felter, Jr., Douglas D. Piersel, Deputy State Public Defenders, Fort Collians, for respondents in No. 26590.

[187 Colo. 336] Tague, Goss, Schilken & Beem, P.C., P. Arthur Tague, Littleton, for petitioner in No. 26644.

Robert R. Gallagher, Jr., Dist. Atty., James F. Macrum, Jr., Chief Deputy Dist. Atty., Ethan D. Feldman, Deputy Dist. Atty., Littleton, for respondents in No. 26644.

ERICKSON, Justice.

These original proceedings require that we determine whether Crim.P. 16 II(b) and (c), which provide the prosecution with discovery rights in a criminal case, can withstand constitutional attack. The issue is framed in two separate cases which reflect different interpretations and

Page 628

rulings on the constitutionality of our rule. We have consolidated the cases for the purpose of this opinion. Subject to the constitutional limitations which are set forth in this opinion, we hold that Crim.P. 16 II(b) and (c) provide a constitutional means for the prosecution to obtain discovery from a defendant or his counsel in a criminal case. We make the rule absolute in both cases. Our remand contains full directions for the respective trial courts.

In Bellmann v. District Court, the defendant petitioned this court for relief in the nature of prohibition. He was charged in an information with manslaughter (1971 Perm.Supp., C.R.S.1963, 40--3--104), vehicular homicide (1971 Perm.Supp., C.R.S.1963, 40--3--106), three counts of vehicular assault (1971 Perm.Supp., C.R.S.1963, 40--3--205), driving under the influence of intoxicating beverages (1971 Perm.Supp., C.R.S.1963, 13--5--30), and two counts of third-degree assault (1971 Perm.Supp., C.R.S.1963, 40--3--204). Pursuant to Crim.P. 16, the district attorney filed a motion for discovery and endeavored to determine the nature of the defense which the defendant intended to offer at the time of trial, the names and addresses of witnesses which the defendant intended to call in support of his defense, and the reports of the defendant's expert witnesses. The prosecution also sought an order which would impose a continuing duty to disclose[187 Colo. 337] information which might be acquired at a later time and would fall within the scope of the original request. The trial court granted the district attorney's motion without a hearing. The defendant then petitioned this court for a writ of prohibition to prevent the trial court from enforcing the discovery order. We issued a rule to show cause and now make the rule absolute.

In People v. District Court, the defendant Bush was charged in an information with second-degree kidnapping (1971 Perm.Supp., C.R.S.1963, 40--3--302) and harassment (1971 Perm.Supp., C.R.S.1963, 40--9--111). Following a finding of probable cause at a preliminary hearing, the trial court heard the district attorney's motion for discovery. The district attorney sought discovery of reports made by the defendant's expert witnesses, the nature of the defense which was going to be offered at the time of trial, together with the names and addresses of all defense witnesses, and copies of the witnesses' written statements. The trial judge denied the motion on the ground that Crim.P. 16 II(b) and (c) were unconstitutional invasions of the defendant's right to remain silent. The district attorney petitioned for a writ of mandamus to compel the trial judge to order discovery in compliance with the Colorado rule. We issued a rule to show cause and now make the rule absolute.

I.

The Basis for Discovery in a Criminal Case

Trial by ambush, or the old fox-and-hounds approach to litigation, does not promote accuracy or efficiency in the search for truth. See Dennis v. United States, 384 U.S. 855, 86 S.Ct. 1840, 16 L.Ed.2d 973 (1966); Robles v. People, 178 Colo. 181, 496 P.2d 1003 (1972); Parlapiano v. District Court, 176 Colo. 521, 491 P.2d 965 (1971); State v. Peterson, Iowa, 219 N.W.2d 665 (1974); State ex rel. Keller v. Criminal Court, Ind., 317 N.E.2d 433 (1974); 1 Cipes, Criminal Defense Techniques, chs. 10 & 11 (Matthew Bender & Co. 1973); Louisell, Criminal Discovery: Dilemma Real or Apparent?, 49 Calif.L.Rev. 56 (1961); Strayhorn, Full Criminal Discovery in Illinois, 56 Judicature 279 (1973).

In 1966, the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure were amended to grant broad discovery rights to the defendant and [187 Colo. 338] reciprocal rights of discovery to the prosecution. Fed.R.Crim.P. 16. See generally Erickson, Discovery in Criminal Cases, in How to Defend a Criminal Case from Arrest to Verdict 131 (Lawyer & George eds. 1967).

In Dennis v. United States, 384 U.S. 855, 86 S.Ct. 1840, 16 L.Ed.2d 973 (1966), Justice Brennan recognized that persuasive

Page 629

arguments existed to cause discovery in a criminal case to be akin to that afforded to the parties in a civil action. The Proposed New Amendments to the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure tend to equate discovery in a criminal case to the discovery rights granted in a civil action, but recognize that constitutional prohibitions protect the defendant's right to remain silent. See 42 U.S.L.W. 45, 53--56.

Colorado, in adopting liberal discovery procedures, followed the procedures recommended by the American Bar Association in the ABA Standards Relating to Discovery and Procedure Before Trial. See also National Advisory Commission Standards, Courts 4.9 Pretrial Discovery; Note, Criminal Discovery--Comparison of Federal Discovery and the ABA Standards with the New Statutory Provisions in Wisconsin, 1971 Wis.L.Rev. 614. The cloak of secrecy has been removed from the criminal justice proces by the adoption of Crim.P. 16. Crim.P. 16 II(b) and (c) provide:

'(b) Medical and Scientific Reports.

'Subject to constitutional limitations, the trial court may require that the prosecuting attorney be informed of and permitted to inspect and copy or photogaph any reports or statements of...

To continue reading

Request your trial
25 practice notes
  • Meeks v. Superior Court (People), No. C009744
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • May 24, 1991
    ...constitutionality of the [section]." (Carkulis, supra, 746 P.2d at p. 609; People v. District Court In & For County of Larimer (1975) 187 Colo. 333, 531 P.2d 626, 631, hereafter cited as Defendant is correct in noting the instant statutory scheme is broader than that approved in Williams, s......
  • Hansen v. Owens, No. 16977
    • United States
    • Utah Supreme Court
    • October 8, 1980
    ...67 Cal.Rptr. 409, 68 Cal.2d 418, 439 P.2d 321 (1968); People By and Through Van Meveren v. District Ct. In and For Larimer County, 187 Colo. 333, 531 P.2d 626 (1975); Lacey v. State, Fla.App., 239 So.2d 628 (1970); Frances v. State, Ind., 316 N.E.2d 364 (1974); State v. Entsminger, Iowa, 16......
  • Hutchinson v. People, No. 85SC510
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court of Colorado
    • September 8, 1987
    ...aspects of the defendant's case. E.g., Williams v. Florida, 399 U.S. 78, 90 S.Ct. 1893, 26 L.Ed.2d 446 (1970); People v. District Court, 187 Colo. 333, 531 P.2d 626 (1975). Accompanying this trend has been a narrowing interpretation of a criminal defendant's privilege against self-incrimina......
  • Lanari v. People, No. 90SC646
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court of Colorado
    • March 10, 1992
    ...in the criminal process by reducing the risk of trial by ambush. People v. Small, 631 P.2d 148 (Colo.1981); People v. District Court, 187 Colo. 333, 531 P.2d 626 (1975). To the extent the requirements of Crim.P. 16 purport to require disclosure of information arguably protected from disclos......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
25 cases
  • Meeks v. Superior Court (People), No. C009744
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • May 24, 1991
    ...constitutionality of the [section]." (Carkulis, supra, 746 P.2d at p. 609; People v. District Court In & For County of Larimer (1975) 187 Colo. 333, 531 P.2d 626, 631, hereafter cited as Defendant is correct in noting the instant statutory scheme is broader than that approved in Williams, s......
  • Hansen v. Owens, No. 16977
    • United States
    • Utah Supreme Court
    • October 8, 1980
    ...67 Cal.Rptr. 409, 68 Cal.2d 418, 439 P.2d 321 (1968); People By and Through Van Meveren v. District Ct. In and For Larimer County, 187 Colo. 333, 531 P.2d 626 (1975); Lacey v. State, Fla.App., 239 So.2d 628 (1970); Frances v. State, Ind., 316 N.E.2d 364 (1974); State v. Entsminger, Iowa, 16......
  • Hutchinson v. People, No. 85SC510
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court of Colorado
    • September 8, 1987
    ...aspects of the defendant's case. E.g., Williams v. Florida, 399 U.S. 78, 90 S.Ct. 1893, 26 L.Ed.2d 446 (1970); People v. District Court, 187 Colo. 333, 531 P.2d 626 (1975). Accompanying this trend has been a narrowing interpretation of a criminal defendant's privilege against self-incrimina......
  • Lanari v. People, No. 90SC646
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court of Colorado
    • March 10, 1992
    ...in the criminal process by reducing the risk of trial by ambush. People v. Small, 631 P.2d 148 (Colo.1981); People v. District Court, 187 Colo. 333, 531 P.2d 626 (1975). To the extent the requirements of Crim.P. 16 purport to require disclosure of information arguably protected from disclos......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT