People v. Rodriguez

Decision Date12 March 1990
Docket NumberNo. 87SA48,87SA48
Citation794 P.2d 964
PartiesThe PEOPLE of the State of Colorado, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Frank D. RODRIGUEZ, Defendant-Appellant.
CourtColorado Supreme Court


This case is pending before us on the defendant's appeal of his death sentence. The prosecution filed a motion for a remand to the trial court for the limited purpose of determining whether certain possibly exculpatory evidence must be disclosed to the defense. The defendant opposed the remand and asked for immediate disclosure of the information.

On December 6, 1989, while retaining jurisdiction of this appeal, we issued an order remanding to the trial court for a legal and factual determination of the issues of whether the possibly exculpatory evidence was constitutionally material and whether it must be disclosed to the defense. People v. Rodriguez, 786 P.2d 1079 (Colo.1989) (per curiam). The trial court was to conduct such proceedings and hearings as were necessary on an expedited basis within forty-five days.

After the limited remand, the prosecution presented certain materials to the trial judge in camera, which the prosecution stated came into its possession two years after the defendant's trial. On December 19, 1989, the trial court disclosed some of the information contained in one of the documents provided by the prosecution to defense counsel. In a sealed order dated January 23, 1990, the trial court found that the other evidence it examined in camera should not be disclosed to the defendant, and that the alleged exculpatory evidence was not constitutionally material. We conclude that the possibly exculpatory evidence must be disclosed to the defense and accordingly we vacate the trial court's order.


In our order of remand, we set out the following test for deciding whether the evidence could be withheld from the defense:

In a capital case, there is a strong presumption that possibly exculpatory evidence should be given to the defendant. However, a procedure similar to that proposed by the prosecution was approved in Pennsylvania v. Ritchie, 480 U.S. 39, 58, 107 S.Ct. 989, 1002, 94 L.Ed.2d 40 (1987).

As an appellate court, we are not in the best position for original fact-finding. See DeMarco v. United States, 415 U.S. 449, 450, 94 S.Ct. 1185, 1185, 39 L.Ed.2d 501 (1974). Therefore, we remand this cause to the trial court for appropriate findings of fact and conclusions of law including but not limited...

To continue reading

Request your trial
5 cases
  • People v. Rodriguez
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court
    • May 29, 1990
    ...court. See People v. Rodriguez, 786 P.2d 1079 (Colo.1989). The proceedings in the trial court have been completed. See People v. Rodriguez, 794 P.2d 964 (Colo.1990).3 C.A.R. 28(g) provides that the principal briefs of both parties shall not exceed 30 pages without permission of court. A rep......
  • Wilcher v. State, s. 03-DP-0032
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • October 7, 1993
    ...U.S. at 375, 108 S.Ct. at 1865-66, 100 L.Ed.2d at 394. Based on Mills v. Maryland, the Supreme Court of Colorado held in People v. Rodriguez, 794 P.2d 964 (Colo.1990): The constitutional problem with instructing the jury that it must be unanimous with respect to the mitigating factor was il......
  • Rodriguez v. Zavaras
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Colorado
    • April 1, 1999
    ...A more detailed statement of the facts of the case is contained in the opinions issued by the state court, particularly, People v. Rodriguez, 794 P.2d 965 (Colo.1990), cert. denied, 498 U.S. 1055, 111 S.Ct. 770, 112 L.Ed.2d 789 After the conclusion of the guilt phase of the trial, the stat......
  • People v. Rodriguez
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court
    • March 11, 1996
    ...p. 169. None of the aforementioned examples was in fact raised and resolved by this court on direct appeal in People v. Rodriguez, 794 P.2d 964, 964-65 (Colo.1990) (Rodriguez III ), or Rodriguez IV, 794 P.2d at 965-91, the only cases referenced by the district court in dismissing Rodriguez'......
  • 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