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People v. Owens.

2024 CO 10. No. 08SA402. Examination of Jurors—Peremptory Challenges—Misconduct Evidence—Remarks by Witnesses—Cross-examination and Impeachment.

February 20, 2024

In this case, the Supreme Court considered whether (1) a trial court constitutionally erred in preventing Owens from conducting voir dire on racial issues and in prohibiting him from informing the jury of the race of one of the victims; (2) the trial court reversibly erred in rejecting Owens’s challenges under Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986), after the prosecution consecutively struck two death-qualified prospective Black jurors; (3) the trial court abused its discretion in admitting, under the res gestae doctrine and CRE 404(b), allegedly excessive evidence of prior, related shootings; (4) the trial court erroneously refused to declare a mistrial following a witness’s outbursts and her repeated declarations from the stand that Owens was guilty; (5) the trial court’s exclusion of extrinsic evidence to impeach that same witness constituted an abuse of discretion and prevented Owens from presenting a complete defense; and (6) Owens was denied a fair trial under the cumulative error doctrine.

The Court concluded that the trial court (1) did not prevent Owens from conducting voir dire on potential racial bias and did not constitutionally err in declining to inform the jury of the race of one of the victims; (2) properly overruled Owens’s Batson challenges; (3) properly admitted evidence of the prior, related shootings under CRE 404(b) and CRE 401–403; (4) properly denied Owens’s mistrial motions; and (5) allowed sufficient cross-examination and impeachment of the prosecution’s key witness while reasonably excluding extrinsic evidence of collateral matters. Having thus determined that Owens did not establish any individual errors warranting reversal, the Court further concluded that he has not established reversible cumulative error.

Accordingly, the Court affirmed the judgment of conviction.

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

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