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People v. Arellano.

2020 CO 84. No. 20SA206. Disqualification—Special Circumstances.

December 7, 2020

In this interlocutory appeal, the People contended that the district court abused its discretion in disqualifying the Fourth Judicial District Attorney’s Office. The district court found that under CRS § 20-1-107(2), the testimony of a district attorney’s office employee, who is also a victim in the case, is of sufficient consequence to establish special circumstances preventing the defendant from receiving a fair trial. The court thus granted the motion to disqualify, and the People appealed.

The Supreme Court found that the district court did not abuse its discretion in disqualifying the district attorney’s office. The district court made extensive findings of fact, all of which were supported in the record, and then properly applied the correct legal standards to the facts before it. Accordingly, the district court’s order was not manifestly arbitrary, unreasonable, or unfair so as to constitute an abuse of the broad discretion afforded district courts under CRS § 20-1-107(2).

The Court affirmed the district court’s order.

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