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The Filing of Motions in Colorado – Typical Colorado Pre-Trial Motions

 

Judges usually do not act in a case unless someone asks. Asking the judge to act is the essence of a motion. Motions are usually, but not always, filed in writing. Sometimes they ask the judge to make a legal decision based on undisputed facts; sometimes the legal implications are clear, but the facts are disputed and the judge will need to decide the facts. Sometimes motions can be decided without hearing from the lawyers or witnesses in court; sometimes a lengthy evidentiary hearing will be needed.

Typical motions include:

Discovery motions, by which the defense seeks to obtain information that cannot be obtained without a court order (such as psychiatric, school, or juvenile records) or  information the State might decline to provide (for example, the defense might seek to subject the State’s evidence to scientific tests that the State believes would damage the evidence).

Motions to suppress evidence, by which the defense seeks to exclude from evidence items or information that might have been obtained from the defendant in violation of constitutional or statutory rights (for example, a motion to suppress evidence seized without a warrant or a confession obtained in violation of Miranda).

Pretrial motions “in limine” to obtain rulings on evidence before it is presented during the trial (for example, a request by the State to bar the defense from referring to certain conduct of a victim under the “Rape Shield” law, or a request of the State or the defense to permit the use of evidence of “other acts” – other wrongdoing by a person that might demonstrate a motive or knowledge that is at issue in the trial).

• A defendant’s request that the court allow a new attorney to take over the case, or, in cases in which the defendant is indigent, appoint a different attorney to take over the case. In deciding such motions, courts have in mind the defendant’s constitutional right to an effective attorney.

Change of venue motions. These motions are out of the ordinary, except in cases given more than passing attention by the news media. In such cases, it is not unusual for the defense to ask the court to order a trial moved to another county or to bring in jurors from another county to hear the case. Before moving a trial or empaneling other jurors, the court must be satisfied that pretrial publicity has permeated the county, that the publicity has been inflammatory and adverse to the defendant, and that the court would not be able to defuse the effect of the publicity through appropriate measures in selecting and instructing the jury.

Are they just going through the motions?

Motion hearings can be newsworthy to the extent they are “dispositive,” that is, if the outcome of the motion is likely to result in the disposition of the case without a trial. Suppression motions, for example, can be dispositive because, on the one hand, the suppression of the evidence may force the State to dismiss the case. On the other, if the evidence is not suppressed, the defendant might decide to plead guilty rather than face evidence at trial that would be conclusive.

Typical Motions List – Ideas For Motions

Motion to Suppress Evidence Pursuant to the Fourth Amendment’s Right Against Unreasonable Search and Seizure

Motion to Suppress Statements Pursuant to the Fifth Amendment’s Right Against Self Incrimination.

Motion to Suppress Statements Pursuant to the Sixth Amendment’s Right to Counsel

Motion to Suppress Statements Pursuant to the Due Process Clause of the Fifth or Fourteenth Amendments

Motion to Suppress Identifications Procedures Pursuant to the Due Process Clause of the Fifth or Fourteenth Amendment

 Motion to Dismiss Pursuant to the Fifth Amendment’s Double Jeopardy Clause

Motion to Dismiss for Violation of the Sixth Amendment’s Right to a Speedy Trial

Motion to Dismiss for Destruction of Evidence Pursuant to the Fifth or Fourteenth Amendments

Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction or Venue

Motion to Dismiss for Invalid Indictment or Other Charging Document

 


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___________________________
H. Michael Steinberg Esq.
Attorney and Counselor at Law
The Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm of H. Michael Steinberg
A Denver, Colorado Lawyer Focused Exclusively On
Colorado Criminal Law For Over 30 Years.
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