Liggett v. People.
2023 CO 22. No. 21SC395. Insanity—Self-Incrimination—Miranda v. Arizona—Privileged Communications and Confidentiality.
May 15, 2023
The Colorado Supreme Court considered (1) whether the trial court violated Liggett’s Fifth Amendment rights by ruling that the people could present psychiatric evidence derived from Liggett’s voluntary statements to rebut evidence supporting his insanity defense, even though police obtained those statements in violation of Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966); and (2) whether the trial court improperly expanded CRS § 16-8-103.6(2)(a)’s privilege waiver to include Liggett’s nonphysician medical providers.
First, the Court held that when a defendant presents psychiatric evidence supporting their insanity defense, they can open the door to the admission of psychiatric evidence rebutting that defense, even if the evidence includes the defendant’s voluntary but non-Miranda-compliant statements.
Second, the Court held that § 16-8-103.6’s waiver of privilege as to “communications made by the defendant to a physician or psychologist” includes communications made to a physician’s or psychologist’s agents. Because the nonphysician medical providers who testified at trial each made their observations as agents of Liggett’s physicians, the Court held that Liggett waived the privilege he shared with these witnesses.
Accordingly, the Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals.