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Requirements For Jailhouse Witness Testimony

Concerning required procedures to protect the defendant when jailhouse witnesses are used in a criminal case, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation.
2020 Regular Session
Courts & Judicial
Crimes, Corrections, & Enforcement
Bill Summary

The bill requires each district attorney's office to maintain a central record that tracks each case in which a jailhouse witness is endorsed by the state to testify against a suspect or defendant's interest. Each district attorney's office shall send the information to the Colorado district attorneys' council, which shall maintain a statewide record of the information division of criminal justice in the department of public safety on a monthly basis to be maintained in a centralized statewide record that is available to district attorneys throughout the state . The information is not subject to open records requests.

A district attorney shall disclose all jailhouse witnesses who have been endorsed by the state and specified information pursuant to rule 16 of the Colorado rules of criminal procedure. In a criminal prosecution for homicide or sexual assault in which the state intends to introduce the testimony of a jailhouse witness, upon a motion of the defendant, the court shall conduct a pre-trial hearing to determine whether the jailhouse witness's testimony is admissible based upon specified factors. Unless the district attorney shows by a preponderance of the evidence that the jailhouse witness's testimony is reliable based on the specified factors, the court shall not allow the testimony to be heard at trial. If a jailhouse witness's testimony is admitted into evidence, the court shall may instruct the jurors to consider specific factors when assessing the jailhouse witness's testimony. If a jailhouse witness receives leniency related to a pending charge, a conviction, or a sentence for a crime against a victim, in connection with offering or providing testimony against a suspect or defendant, the prosecutor shall notify the victim.

The bill appropriates $16,860 from the general fund to the department of public safety which is reappropriated to the office of information technology for information technology services to implement the act.

(Note: Italicized words indicate new material added to the original summary; dashes through words indicate deletions from the original summary.)

(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)




Bill Text

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The effective date for bills enacted without a safety clause is August 7, 2024, if the General Assembly adjourns sine die on May 8, 2024, unless otherwise specified. Details