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Garcia v. People.

2023 CO 41. No. 21SC473. Double Jeopardy—Multiple Prosecutions—Simultaneous Proceedings—Multiplicity.

June 20, 2023

Garcia was prosecuted in Mexico for a murder that took place in Colorado. To assist Mexican authorities, the Mesa County District Attorney’s Office compiled a casebook containing information on Garcia and his alleged crime. Garcia was acquitted in Mexico. After returning to Colorado several years later, Garcia was charged and convicted of the same murder. Garcia appealed, arguing that CRS § 18-1-303 barred his trial in Colorado and that the dual-sovereignty exception to double jeopardy should not apply because the Mesa County District Attorney’s collaboration with Mexican authorities was merely a sham to permit duplicative proceedings.

The Court held that Garcia’s Colorado trial was not barred by double jeopardy because § 18-1-303 does not prohibit prosecution in Colorado following a prosecution in a foreign country. The Court further held that cooperative law enforcement, without more, is an insufficient ground on which to claim that one sovereign acted as a tool of another. The dual-sovereignty exception to double jeopardy thus applied here to permit Garcia’s prosecution in Colorado.

Official Colorado Supreme Court proceedings can be found at the Colorado Supreme Court website.

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