Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

People v. Lane

Court of Appeals of Colorado, Sixth Division

April 24, 2014

The People of the State of Colorado, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Jason Lee Lane, Defendant-Appellant

Page 1020

Arapahoe County District Court No. 06CR636. Honorable Gerald J. Rafferty, Judge, Honorable Carlos A. Samour, Jr., Judge.

John W. Suthers, Attorney General, Ryan A. Crane, Assistant Attorney General, Denver, Colorado, for Plaintiff-Appellee.

Douglas K. Wilson, Colorado State Public Defender, Ryann S. Hardman, Deputy State Public Defender, Denver, Colorado, for Defendant-Appellant.

Opinion by JUDGE GABRIEL. Loeb[*], C.J., and Kapelke, J., concur.

OPINION

GABRIEL, JUDGE

Page 1021

[¶1] Defendant, Jason Lee Lane, appeals the judgment of conviction entered on a jury verdict finding him guilty of second degree murder. He also appeals the trial court's restitution order. We conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in (1) rejecting Lane's tendered instruction regarding

Page 1022

deadly force and in instructing the jury regarding self-defense; (2) excluding certain expert and lay testimony regarding prior abuse that Lane had suffered; and (3) limiting the cross-examination of a prosecution witness. We further conclude that the court did not err in awarding restitution to all three of the victim's siblings. Accordingly, we affirm.

I. Background

[¶2] Lane met the victim at a bar in Denver. After consuming several drinks, Lane and the victim went to Lane's motel room in Aurora. There, Lane arranged for the victim to obtain some crack cocaine, and the victim and a neighbor of Lane's smoked the crack in Lane's room. Afterward, Lane permitted the victim to spend the night.

[¶3] According to Lane, he awoke in the middle of the night to find the victim groping his chest and genitals over his clothing. In response, he stabbed the victim with a steak knife thirteen times in the chest, killing him. At trial, Lane asserted that he had acted in self-defense against a sexual assault and that he was too intoxicated to form the necessary intent to commit first degree murder.

[¶4] The jury convicted Lane of second degree murder, and the trial court sentenced him to forty-five years in prison. The trial court also ordered Lane to pay restitution to all three of the victim's siblings.

[¶5] Lane now appeals.

II. Jury Instructions

[¶6] Lane contends that the trial court erred in (1) rejecting his proffered jury instruction on the relationship between intoxication and the use of deadly force, and (2) giving the jury certain instructions pertaining to self-defense. We are not persuaded.

A. Standard of Review

[¶7] " We view jury instructions as a whole to determine whether the jury was adequately informed of the applicable law." People v. Bondurant, 2012 COA 50, ¶ 66, 296 P.3d 200, 213. If the jury is adequately instructed on the law, we will not disturb a trial court's ruling concerning a jury instruction absent a showing of an abuse of discretion. Id. at ¶ 67, 296 P.3d at 213; see also People v. Chavez, 190 P.3d 760, 769 (Colo. App. 2007) (" It is within the sound discretion of the district court to determine whether additional jury instructions which properly state the law should be submitted." ). A trial court abuses its discretion when its ruling is manifestly arbitrary, unreasonable, or unfair. People v. Williams, 2012 COA 165, ¶ 13, 297 P.3d 1011, 1014.

[¶8] We review preserved, nonconstitutional trial errors for harmless error. See Crim. P. 52(a); Hagos v. People. 2012 CO 63, ¶ 12, 288 P.3d 116, 119. Under this standard, we will reverse only if the error affected the substantial rights of a party. Hagos, ¶ 12, 288 P.3d at 119.

B. Intoxication and Deadly Force Instruction

[¶9] Lane argues that the trial court should have given the following instruction to the jury:

The prosecution has the burden of proving all the elements of deadly physical force beyond a reasonable doubt. If you find the defendant was intoxicated to such a degree that he did not intend to cause the death of [the victim], which is a required element of Deadly Physical Force, you should apply the principles of ordinary physical force self-defense rather than the principles of deadly physical force self-defense.

[¶10] We reject Lane's argument for the reasons stated in People v. Vasquez, 148 P.3d 326, 330 (Colo. App. 2006) (opining that because the reasonable person standard requires a defendant to appraise the situation as would a reasonable sober person, evidence of voluntary intoxication is irrelevant to the issue of whether general, as opposed to deadly physical force, self-defense principles should apply).

C. Reasonable Person Instruction

[¶11] Lane further argues that the trial court erred in giving the following self-defense instruction:

Page 1023

The affirmative defense of use of physical force in defense of a person takes into account the actual belief or state of mind of the defendant. However, it ultimately requires that a reasonable person would have believed and acted as the defendant did under the circumstances. You must weigh all of the relevant circumstances to determine whether the defendant acted as a reasonable person would have acted in similar circumstances. The reasonable person standard requires a defendant to appraise the situation as would a reasonable sober person.

[¶12] Specifically, Lane contends that the second sentence of this instruction, which was taken almost verbatim from Vasquez, 148 P.3d at 330, conveyed that although there may be a subjective component to self-defense, it bears no weight because the question is " ultimately" an objective one.

[¶13] As our supreme court has made clear, a trial court's use of an excerpt from a judicial opinion in a jury instruction is generally an unwise practice because opinions and instructions serve very different purposes. See, e.g., Evans v. People, 706 P.2d 795, 800 (Colo. 1985). Nonetheless, we perceive no reversible error here for the following reasons:

o Contrary to Lane's assertion that the instruction conveyed a message that is " simply not the law," the Vasquez division expressly stated that self-defense " ultimately requires that a reasonable person would have believed and acted as the defendant did." See Vasquez, 148 P.3d at 330.
o Contrary to Lane's assertion that the instruction may have misled the jury into ignoring the totality of the circumstances and his perceptions of the encounter, the instruction expressly told the jurors to " weigh all of the relevant circumstances to determine whether the defendant acted as a reasonable person would have acted in similar circumstances." (Emphasis added.)
o The applicable self-defense statute emphasizes the reasonableness of a defendant's use of self-defense. See § 18-1-704, C.R.S. 2013 (using the words " reasonable" or " reasonably" six times but referring to a defendant's actual or subjective belief only once); see also People v. Rodriguez, 888 P.2d 278, 286 (Colo. App. 1994) (" The touchstone of self-defense is whether, from the standpoint ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.