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People v. Geisick

Court of Appeals of Colorado, Division II

July 28, 2016

The People of the State of Colorado, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Benjamin Jacob Geisick, Defendant-Appellant.

         Weld County District Court No. 14CR285 Honorable Thomas J. Quammen, Judge

          Cynthia H. Coffman, Attorney General, Ethan Zweig, Assistant Attorney General, Denver, Colorado, for Plaintiff-Appellee

          Douglas K. Wilson, Colorado State Public Defender, Kathryn Heffron, Deputy State Public Defender, Greeley, Colorado, for Defendant-Appellant

          Webb and Harris, JJ., concur

          OPINION

          JUDGE ASHBY

         ¶ 1 Defendant, Benjamin Jacob Geisick, appeals the judgment of conviction entered on jury verdicts finding him guilty of resisting arrest, obstructing a peace officer, and possession of drug paraphernalia. We affirm.

         I. Background

         ¶ 2 Geisick got into an argument with his girlfriend in their motel room. The motel manager overheard the argument, confronted Geisick, and then called the police. Officer Steinhour was the first officer to arrive and he contacted the motel manager. While Officer Steinhour and the manager were talking, the manager saw Geisick walking away from the motel and pointed Geisick out. Officer Steinhour followed Geisick on foot and verbally attempted to stop Geisick so that they could talk. A physical struggle between Officer Steinhour and Geisick occurred, but it ended quickly and Geisick ran away. Geisick hid behind a tree as other officers arrived on the scene and, after trying to escape on foot again, Geisick was ultimately tackled and arrested by the later responding officers.

         ¶ 3 Based on the physical struggle with Officer Steinhour, the prosecution charged Geisick with second degree assault on a peace officer and attempting to disarm a peace officer. And because officers found a pipe, which Geisick admitted was used to smoke methamphetamine, and other items in his pockets, the prosecution also charged Geisick with possession of drug paraphernalia.

         ¶ 4 At trial, both Officer Steinhour and Geisick testified and offered significantly different descriptions of their struggle. Officer Steinhour testified that Geisick initiated the physical altercation between the two of them and that Geisick punched him in the face, hit him in the head with his radio microphone, and attempted to take his gun. In contrast, Geisick testified that Officer Steinhour initiated the physical altercation by grabbing him and throwing him into a wall, and denied that he ever punched the officer, hit him in the head with the radio microphone, or attempted to take his gun. Geisick did admit, however, that a physical struggle occurred and that he ran away from Officer Steinhour and the other officers who arrived later.

         ¶ 5 At the close of evidence, Geisick asked the trial court to instruct the jury on two lesser nonincluded offenses that the People did not charge: resisting arrest and obstructing a peace officer. The trial court, at the request of Geisick, found that there was evidence to support both of the lesser nonincluded offenses and instructed the jury on those offenses. The jury found Geisick not guilty of the charged offenses of assault on a peace officer and attempting to disarm an officer, but found him guilty of the uncharged lesser nonincluded offenses of resisting arrest and obstructing a peace officer in addition to the charged offense of possession of drug paraphernalia. The trial court convicted and sentenced Geisick accordingly.

         ¶ 6 Geisick appeals his convictions, arguing that (1) the trial court erred by denying his challenge for cause to a potential juror; (2) the trial court erred by admitting inadmissible hearsay testimony; (3) the evidence was insufficient to support his resisting arrest and obstruction convictions; and (4) the cumulative effect of these errors denied him a fair trial. We consider and disagree with each of these arguments in turn.

         II. Challenge for Cause

         ¶ 7 Geisick argues that the trial court reversibly erred by denying his challenge for cause to a potential juror whom he then used a peremptory challenge to dismiss. We reject this argument ...


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