People v. Justice.
2023 CO 9. Nos. 22SA347 & 22SA348. Court’s Authority to Order Mediation in a Criminal Case—CRS § 16-7-301(1)–(2)—CRS § 16-7-302(1)—CRS § 13-22-311.
February 27, 2023
Justice was charged with multiple offenses in four felony cases. The People extended him a global plea bargain offer, which he rejected. Justice then filed a motion asking the district court to compel mediation. The court granted the motion and ordered mediation over the People’s objection. As part of its order, the court required good-faith participation and threatened to impose sanctions for lack of compliance. The People filed C.A.R. petitions in two of the cases, and the Supreme Court issued rules to show cause for each of them.
The Court concluded that a trial court lacks the authority to require the parties to mediate in a criminal case. Because the district court ordered mediation over the People’s objection, and because the mediation order arguably involved the district court in the plea bargaining process, the Court made absolute the rules to show cause.