Murder Committed During A Felony in Colorado

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Statute for 18 – 3 – 102 – Murder Committed During A Felony

StatuteHere is the charge you are facing:

18-3-102. Murder in the first degree

(1) A person commits the crime of murder in the first degree if:

(a) After deliberation and with the intent to cause the death of a person other than himself, he causes the death of that person or of another person; or

(b) Acting either alone or with one or more persons, he or she commits or attempts to commit arson, robbery, burglary, kidnapping, sexual assault as prohibited by section 18-3-402, sexual assault in the first or second degree as prohibited by section 18-3-402 or 18-3-403 as those sections existed prior to July 1, 2000, or a class 3 felony for sexual assault on a child as provided in section 18-3-405 (2), or the crime of escape as provided in section 18-8-208, and, in the course of or in furtherance of the crime that he or she is committing or attempting to commit, or of immediate flight therefrom, the death of a person, other than one of the participants, is caused by anyone; or

(c) By perjury or subornation of perjury he procures the conviction and execution of any innocent person; or

(d) Under circumstances evidencing an attitude of universal malice manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life generally, he knowingly engages in conduct which creates a grave risk of death to a person, or persons, other than himself, and thereby causes the death of another; or

(e) He or she commits unlawful distribution, dispensation, or sale of a controlled substance to a person under the age of eighteen years on school grounds as provided in section 18-18-407 (2), and the death of such person is caused by the use of such controlled substance; or

(f) The person knowingly causes the death of a child who has not yet attained twelve years of age and the person committing the offense is one in a position of trust with respect to the victim.

(2) It is an affirmative defense to a charge of violating subsection (1) (b) of this section that the defendant:

(a) Was not the only participant in the underlying crime; and

(b) Did not commit the homicidal act or in any way solicit, request, command, importune, cause, or aid the commission thereof; and

(c) Was not armed with a deadly weapon; and

(d) Had no reasonable ground to believe that any other participant was armed with such a weapon, instrument, article, or substance; and

(e) Did not engage himself in or intend to engage in and had no reasonable ground to believe that any other participant intended to engage in conduct likely to result in death or serious bodily injury; and

(f) Endeavored to disengage himself from the commission of the underlying crime or flight therefrom immediately upon having reasonable grounds to believe that another participant is armed with a deadly weapon, instrument, article, or substance, or intended to engage in conduct likely to result in death or serious bodily injury.

(3) Murder in the first degree is a class 1 felony.

(4) The statutory privilege between patient and physician and between husband and wife shall not be available for excluding or refusing testimony in any prosecution for the crime of murder in the first degree as described in paragraph (f) of subsection (1) of this section.

Case Law

When you look at the Statute, you may have questions about definitions of certain words or how the Colorado Court will interpret certain phrases.  To answer these questions, Defense Attorney turn to "case law."  That is, lawyers look at previous cases to determine how these words and phrases should be defined and interpreted. The best way to locate caselaw for free is to go to google scholar and search for legal opinions involving your charges from Colorado courts. Remember to talk to your attorney about any issues in your case and how the lawyer believes that the issues should be handled.


Colorado Penalties for Murder Committed During A Felony

Penalties

The charge of Murder Committed During A Felony, is categorized as a:

F1

Click here to find out how much jail time is associated with this penalty.

How to Use This Information

After you have hired a CO Defense Attorney, you will need to sit down with him to talk about the strengths and weaknesses of your case.  To begin this process, you should think about what the prosecutor will attempt to show in order to say that you are guilty. This involves analyzing the statute language above as well as the jury instructions (which is the set of instructions that the jury will use to understand the law). This will allow you to get a better idea of how you can attack the prosecutor’s case and build your own case. So to begin, you should understand that the prosecutor will need to prove certain things beyond a reasonable doubt for you to be found guilty.  These things are called “elements”.

The jury will be notified of the elements through a set of instructions called “Jury Instructions.” The Jury Instructions will be crafted by your attorney and the prosecutor. Your CO Defense Attorney will mold the jury instructions to your case, adding facts that are specific to the case and omitting unnecessary parts of the instructions.

Please find the model jury instruction for Murder Committed During A Felony below. These will be adapted by your CO Attorney for your case.

The elements of murder in the first degree (felony murder) are: 1. that the defendant, 2. in the State of Colorado, at or about the date and place charged, 3. acting alone or with one or more persons, 4. committed or attempted to commit the crime of ________________________________ as defined in instruction (insert applicable felony) _____ , and 5. in the course of or in furtherance of the _________________________ he/she was committing or (insert applicable felony) attempting to commit, or of immediate flight therefrom 6. the death of a person, other than one of the participants, was caused by anyone. 7. [without the affirmative defense in instruction number ________.] After considering all the evidence, if you decide the prosecution has proven each of the elements beyond a reasonable doubt, you should find the defendant guilty of murder in the first degree. After considering all the evidence, if you decide the prosecution has failed to prove any one or more of the elements beyond a reasonable doubt, you should find the defendant not guilty of murder in the first degree. NOTES ON USE Delete inapplicable bracketed material. The complete elemental definition of the applicable offense or offenses in paragraph 4 and 5 must be given. People v. Auman, 109 P.3d 647 (Colo. 2005). See ? 18-3-107, C.R.S. for first degree murder of a peace officer or firefighter engaged in the performance of his or her duties.

To begin the process of analyzing your case, think about your case from the perspective of the prosecutor.  Think about the facts that the prosecutor will have to prove to establish each element. Next, sit down with your CO Defense Attorney and talk about some of the legal ways that you can use to counter the prosecutor’s evidence.  Talk to your attorney about whether he thinks any of the prosecutor’s evidence can be kept out of court.  For example, if you were illegally searched, your attorney may be able to keep the things that were found, as a result of that illegal search, out of court.  Additionally, talk to your attorney about whether you have any defenses to Murder Committed During A Felony.

Important Notes:

Don’t Forget about Immigration:

If you are not a U.S. citizen, be sure to ask your attorney whether your charges will trigger deportation if you are found guilty or plea to the charge.

Good Luck!

The information in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or as the creation of an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice, please contact an Attorney.

Written by

Nathaniel has worked in criminal law on both sides of the aisle spending time working for the prosecution as well as the defense. Most recently Nathaniel has represented individuals in violent felonies and drug cases. Prior to this work, Nathaniel handled DWIs, Domestic Violence Cases, Property Crimes, and White Collar Crimes. On the prosecutorial side, Nathaniel has most notably worked in Bosnia helping to prosecute individuals who committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Bosnian War from 1993-1995. In particular, Nathaniel helped in the prosecution of military leaders who arranged for the organized murders and rapes of innocent civilians in various towns in Bosnia. Nathaniel is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, Northwestern University, and Phillips Exeter Academy. Google Profile: Nathaniel Baca