Parker, CO asked in Constitutional Law, Criminal Law and Gov & Administrative Law for Colorado

Q: During Suppression hearing, our lawyer asked that the police testimonies be thrown out since they were not matching

The judge did not accept our request and allowed the testimonies to be accepted. There were many objections that we had during the trial and our lawyer was vocal about them during the trial but the judge seemed to be very biased and accept whatever the District Attorney requested. We lost trial and currently appealing but my main question is, shouldn't these testimonies be thrown out? What would be the reasons that the judge allowed this to be used?

1 Lawyer Answer
Tristan Kenyon Schultz
Tristan Kenyon Schultz
  • Fort Collins, CO
  • Licensed in Colorado

A: Since I was not there and I do not know your case, I cannot comment on all the particularities of your case. I can, however, provide general information. A suppression hearing (often attached to a motion in limine) is nothing more than a request (usually by the defendant) to exclude evidence from trial. From your facts it sounds like the motion was based on conflicting information of the officers.

There are several legal reasons for suppressing evidence ranging from serious police misconduct to prejudicial or irrelevant information. The basic idea is that evidence should be excluded if was gained improperly (i.e. a violation of a constitutional right) or confuse a jury. The former are serious issues and generally are strictly applied. The latter are always a matter of degree (from your facts this is likely what you suppression request was based on a non-constitutional issue). For non-constitutional violations, the judge must balance the usefulness of the evidence at trial versus the evidence's likelihood for leading a jury astray.

While there is case law, there is considerable judicial discretion (a judge can decide) on these matters. You can appeal the judge's ruling, but be aware that the legal standards for overturning the ruling a rather high unless a constitutional violation occurred (i.e. an alleged or proven confession by torture, etc.). For more information talk to your appellate lawyer.

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