Garner v. Colorado

The State of Colorado charged James Garner for a shooting at a bar that injured three brothers. The State’s case depended on the brothers’ live identifications of Garner at trial, almost three years later. None of them could identify Garner in a photo array at the police station. The issue this case presented for the Colorado Supreme Court’s review centered on whether, in the circumstances of this case, Neil v. Biggers, 409 U.S. 199 (1972) required the trial court to assess the reliability of the brothers’ first-time in-court identifications before allowing them in front of the jury. The Colorado Court held that where an in-court identification is not preceded by an impermissibly suggestive pretrial identification procedure arranged by law enforcement, and where nothing beyond the inherent suggestiveness of the ordinary courtroom setting made the in-court identification itself constitutionally suspect, due process did not require the trial court to assess the identification for reliability under Biggers. Because Garner alleged no impropriety regarding the pretrial photographic arrays, and the record revealed nothing unusually suggestive about the circumstances of the brothers’ in-court identifications, the in-court identifications did not violate due process. Furthermore, the Court held Garner’s evidentiary arguments were unpreserved and that the trial court’s admission of the identifications was not plain error under CRE 403, 602, or 701. View "Garner v. Colorado" on Justia Law