People v. Rodriguez, 87SA48

Decision Date06 December 1989
Docket NumberNo. 87SA48,87SA48
Citation786 P.2d 1079
PartiesThe PEOPLE of the State of Colorado, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Frank D. RODRIGUEZ, Defendant-Appellant.
CourtColorado Supreme Court


This case is now pending before us on the defendant's appeal of his death sentence. The prosecution has 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. In response, the defendant initially opposes such a remand and requests immediate disclosure of the information. In order that a complete factual and legal record may be developed, we retain jurisdiction, but remand to the trial court for determination of the issues discussed below on an expedited basis within forty-five days.


The defendant Frank D. Rodriguez was convicted of first-degree murder, section 18-3-102, 8B C.R.S. (1986), and was sentenced to death pursuant to a verdict by the jury, section 16-11-103, 8A C.R.S. (1986). Because of the death sentence, review in this court was automatic. C.A.R. 4(e). After the cause was submitted on the briefs, and orally argued, the prosecution filed a motion for a limited remand, which stated:

1. Since the conclusion of defendant's trial and sentencing below, the Denver District Attorney's office came into possession of information touching upon the crimes for which the defendant stands sentenced to death. This information, if it had any evidentiary value, could be considered favorable to the defendant. The attorney general's office was made aware of this information on November 1, 1989 by the Denver District Attorney's office.

2. Given the source and nature of the information and its lack of evidentiary value, the People believe that it is not constitutionally material and should not be subject to disclosure.... Accordingly, the People reaffirm their position that defendant's death sentence should be upheld.

3. However, to avoid any suggestion or appearance of unfairness and in light of the admonition of [ United States v.] Agurs, [427 U.S. 97, 96 S.Ct. 2392, 49 L.Ed.2d 342 (1976) ], that doubtful questions should be resolved in favor of disclosure, the People would make immediate and full disclosure but for the fact that such disclosure would expose and endanger a confidential informant and could jeopardize ongoing investigations of other serious crimes.

In response, the defendant has moved for immediate disclosure of the "exculpatory material which the state has admitted it possesses, so that [defendant's] attorney may thereafter ascertain what course of action is in Mr. Rodriguez' best interests...." The defendant initially opposes a remand prior to the disclosure of the material, but "[i]f this court grants a remand, the issues to be addressed should be precisely set forth," and "should not include any issues regarding the value of the evidence to Mr. Rodriguez...." We believe that a limited remand is necessary to determine whether disclosure to the defense is warranted.


The Due Process Clause of the fourteenth amendment requires that the prosecution disclose material exculpatory evidence in its possession to the defendant. For disclosure to be required, the evidence must be both favorable to the defendant and material to guilt or punishment. United States v. Bagley, 473 U.S. 667, 674, 105 S.Ct. 3375, 3379, 87 L.Ed.2d 481 (1985); United States v. Agurs, 427 U.S. 97, 104, 96 S.Ct. 2392, 2397, 49 L.Ed.2d 342 (1976); Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83, 87, 83 S.Ct. 1194, 1196, 10 L.Ed.2d 215 (1963). The motion reveals neither the nature of the information, nor when the information came into the possession of the district attorney after the trial was completed. The motion does not provide any reason that the information should not now be disclosed to the defendant, except the bare unsworn assertion that "such disclosure would expose and endanger a confidential informant and could jeopardize ongoing investigations of other serious crimes."

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12 cases
  • People v. Rodriguez
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court
    • May 29, 1990
    ...submission of the appeal, this court granted a request of the prosecution for a limited remand to the trial 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) pro......
  • Rodriguez v. Zavaras
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Colorado
    • April 1, 1999
    ...The prosecution requested a limited remand to determine whether this evidence needed to be disclosed. People v. Rodriguez, 786 P.2d 1079 (Colo.1989) ("Rodriguez II"). After a remand to trial court, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that the material had to be disclosed to Petitioner. People ......
  • People v. Rodriguez
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court
    • March 11, 1996 determine whether the prosecution should be required to disclose possibly exculpatory evidence to the defense. People v. Rodriguez, 786 P.2d 1079 (Colo.1989) (Rodriguez II ). Following the limited remand, we held that the state must disclose such evidence to Rodriguez. People v. Rodrigue......
  • People v. Brown
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court
    • April 7, 2014
    ...test, the trial court is undeniably in the best position to determine whether a continuance is appropriate. SeePeople v. Rodriguez, 786 P.2d 1079, 1082 (Colo.1989) (Appellate courts “are not in the best position for original fact-finding.”). The trial court should place its findings on the ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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