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CHAPTER 7: SELECTED CRIMINAL PROCEDURES - Table of Contents

7.1 - Preliminary Hearings7.2 - Pretrial Conferences7.3 - Pretrial Motions Processs7.4 - Use of Statements7.5 - Use of Seized Evidence7.6 - Eyewitness Identification Procedures7.7 - Interlocutory Appeals7.8 - Sentencing7.9 - Boulder Integrated Treatment Court

7.7 INTERLOCUTORY APPEALS

Normally, a case can only be appealed after the trial court has fully resolved all the issues presented. Interlocutory appeals are exceptions to this rule for they occur before the conclusion of a trial or other final disposition of the case at the trial level. Interlocutory appeals are only allowed in very limited situations.

In criminal cases, the prosecution may be allowed to bring an interlocutory appeal when a trial court suppresses a statement or physical evidence based on a finding that the evidence was obtained in violation of the defendant’s constitutional rights.

Such appeals are governed by Colorado Appellate Rule (C.A.R.) 4.1. The rule provides for direct appeal to the Supreme Court. It requires that such an appeal be filed within ten days of the order and provides faster procedures than apply to normal appeals because the case remains to be tried, so the defendant remains under the cloud of the charges and may be in custody, and delay adversely impacts witnesses, victims, the public, and the interests of justice. The prosecution must certify that the suppressed evidence is a substantial portion of the case against the defendant and that the appeal is not taken for the purpose of delay.

The rationale for allowing appeals in such situations is that the prosecution would otherwise have to go to trial without substantial evidence and if the defendant is acquitted, the prosecution will not be able to retry the defendant because of double jeopardy, so that justice will not be done if the trial court erred in suppressing the evidence. The defendant is not authorized to bring such an appeal because adequate relief is available on appeal after the case has been fully resolved at the trial court.

In civil cases, the most common issue in an interlocutory appeal is the issuance of a temporary injunction by the trial court, which orders a party to do something or refrain from doing something before a court can hold a full hearing on the matter and decide whether to order permanent relief. C.A.R. 1(a)(3) provides that a party may appeal from the grant or denial of a temporary injunction. There are also certain other very limited grounds for such appeals in a civil case.

The Supreme Court also has the discretion to review trial court decisions before the case is fully resolved in an original proceeding under C.A.R. 21. Such appeals are limited to claims that the trial court abused its discretion or is proceeding in excess of its jurisdiction and there is no adequate remedy at law. They are very rare. Rule 21 allows a party to file a petition in the Supreme Court explaining why such extraordinary relief is appropriate. If the Supreme Cout chooses to review the matter, it will issue to the appropriate opposing party an order to show cause why the relief should not be granted. The petitioner can then reply to this brief. The court will then grant relief to the petitioner by making its rule absolute or uphold the trial court by discharging the rule.

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