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10SA106

10SA106

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Published by Circuit Media

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Published by: Circuit Media on Nov 15, 2010
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Opinions of the Colorado Supreme Court are available to thepublic and can be accessed through the Court’s homepage athttp://www.courts.state.co.usand are posted on the ColoradoBar Association homepage atwww.cobar.org.ADVANCE SHEET HEADNOTENovember 15, 2010
 No. 10SA106, People v. Vigil
: Self-Incrimination -- Due Process-- Suppression of Involuntary Statements -- Suppression ofSubsequent ConfessionThe supreme court affirms a trial court’s order suppressinga defendant’s confession because, under the voluntarinessrequirements of the Due Process Clause of the FourteenthAmendment, two police officers coerced a confession from thedefendant by using excessive physical force during an unlawfularrest. In addition, contraband discovered as a result of theconfession and unlawful arrest was appropriately suppressed asfruit of the poisonous tree.The supreme court also affirms the trial court’ssuppression of the defendant’s subsequent confession because itwas infected by his earlier, coerced confession. After hisarrest, the defendant received six hours of medical treatment.He was released into the custody of the same officers who hadcoerced his first confession, and those officers questioned himat 2:00 am. As a result, the officers were the beneficiaries oftheir earlier, coercive conduct.
 
 SUPREME COURT, STATE OF COLORADO101 West Colfax Avenue, Suite 800Denver, Colorado 80202Interlocutory Appeal from the District CourtHuerfano County District Court Case No. 09CR79Honorable Claude W. Appel, JudgeCase No. 10SA106
Plaintiff-Appellant:
The People of the State of Colorado,v.
Defendant-Appellee:
Clovis Vigil
.
 ORDER AFFIRMEDEN BANCNovember 15, 2010Frank Ruybalid, District Attorney, Third Judicial DistrictMark T. Adams, Assistant District AttorneyWalsenburg, ColoradoAttorneys for Plaintiff-AppellantCarl D. FattaPueblo, ColoradoAttorney for Defendant-AppelleeJUSTICE MARTINEZ delivered the Opinion of the Court.JUSTICE COATS dissents.JUSTICE EID concurs in the judgment in part and dissents inpart, and JUSTICE RICE joins in the concurrence in the judgmentin part and dissent in part.
 
I.
 
Introduction
Clovis Vigil was arrested and charged with possession of acontrolled substance as well as possession with intent todistribute. At the time of his arrest, Vigil confessed topossession and indicated where he kept the drugs only after thearresting officers had used force against him, inflictingnumerous injuries. The trial court held that Vigil was arrestedwithout probable cause and that his various inculpatorystatements were involuntarily given. The trial court suppressedthose statements from admission into evidence as well as thebags of cocaine that were collected from Vigil’s pocket. ThePeople appeal the trial court’s suppression order. We concludethat the trial court’s suppression order was proper and affirmits decision.
II. Facts and Procedure
In July 2009, an off-duty Sheriff’s Deputy witnessed whathe believed to be an illegal drug transaction in the parking lotof a store in Walsenburg, Colorado. He observed Clovis Vigil,his dog leashed to one hand, approach a parked car with twooccupants. After a short interaction, Vigil was handedsomething, which he placed in his pocket. Vigil then left theparking lot on foot. The off-duty Sheriff’s Deputy reported hisobservations to the dispatcher, identifying Vigil and the twopeople he had interacted with as people he knew to be involved2

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