In re People v. Tippet.
2023 CO 61. No. 23SA111. Discovery Prior to and Incident to Trial—Failure to Disclose; Sanctions—Power of Courts to Issue Particular Sanctions.
December 11, 2023
In this original proceeding, the Supreme Court addressed whether the district court abused its discretion by reducing the charge against Tippet from first-degree murder to second-degree murder as a sanction for discovery violations made by the Eleventh Judicial District Attorney’s Office (office). The Court concluded that, while this type of sanction is a disfavored remedy reserved for rare cases, the district court did not abuse its discretion by reducing Tippet’s charge as a deterrent sanction given the office’s two-year-long pattern and practice of neglect of its discovery obligations that persisted, notwithstanding repeated admonitions by multiple judicial officers in the Eleventh Judicial District, and the imposition of many and varied sanctions against the office in numerous documented cases. Accordingly, the Court discharged the rule to show cause.