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.

In re People

Supreme Court of Colorado, En Banc

October 3, 2016

In Re The People of the State of Colorado, Plaintiff
v.
Sienna Johnson, Defendant

         Original Proceeding Pursuant to C.A.R. 21 Douglas County District Court Case No. 16CR4 Honorable Paul A. King, Judge

          Attorneys for Plaintiff: George H. Brauchler, District Attorney, Eighteenth Judicial District Susan J. Trout, Senior Deputy District Attorney Centennial, Colorado

          Attorneys for Defendant: Douglas K. Wilson, Public Defender Ryann S. Hardman, Deputy State Public Defender Ara Ohanian, Deputy State Public Defender Helen M. Hoopes, Deputy State Public Defender Denver, Colorado

          Attorneys for Amici Curiae Colorado Juvenile Defender Center and Colorado Behavioral Health Care Council

          Holland & Knight LLP David R. Fine Maxwell N. Shaffer Sara C. Sharp Denver, Colorado

          RICE, CHIEF JUSTICE

         ¶1 This case raises two questions involving what a trial court may order when a juvenile seeks reverse-transfer of her criminal case from trial court to juvenile court. First, when a juvenile requests a reverse-transfer hearing, does she waive her psychotherapist-patient privilege, [1] thereby authorizing a trial court to order her to produce privileged mental health records pursuant to section 19-2-517(3)(b)(VI), C.R.S. (2016)? Second, does section 19-2-517(3)(b)(VI) give a trial court the power to order a juvenile to submit to a state mental health assessment?[2]

         ¶2 As to the first question, we hold that, because nothing in the statute states that a juvenile waives her psychotherapist-patient privilege by requesting a reverse-transfer hearing, a trial court cannot order the juvenile to produce privileged mental health records. As to the second question, we hold that, because nothing in the statute explicitly grants a trial court the power to order a mental health assessment, a trial court cannot order such an assessment. The reverse-transfer statute only requires that the trial court consider mental health records "made available"-i.e., voluntarily waived by the privilege-holder-to the trial court and the parties. § 19-2-517(3)(b)(VI). Therefore, we make our rule to show cause absolute and remand the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

         I. Facts and Procedural History

         ¶3 The district attorney directly filed a criminal complaint against Defendant Sienna Johnson in trial court, treating her as an adult and charging her with two counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. Johnson requested a reverse-transfer hearing under section 19-2-517(3), seeking the transfer of her case to juvenile court. The trial court granted her hearing request.

         ¶4 Arguing that section 19-2-517(3)(b)(VI) ("the reverse-transfer statute") requires a trial court to evaluate Johnson's mental health, the district attorney filed a motion requesting (1) access to Johnson's mental health and psychological records and (2) a court-ordered mental health assessment. Johnson responded that (1) she should not have to produce her mental health records because she had not waived her psychotherapist-patient privilege ("the privilege") by requesting a reverse-transfer hearing, and (2) the reverse-transfer statute does not give the trial court authority to order a mental health assessment.

         ¶5 The trial court ruled for the prosecution on both counts. First, the trial court found that, under the reverse-transfer statute, when a juvenile requests a reverse-transfer hearing she waives all privilege in existing mental health and psychological records and must produce those records for the court and prosecution. Second, the trial court found that, also under the reverse-transfer statute, when a juvenile requests a reverse-transfer hearing the trial court may order her to submit to a "mental health or psychological assessment or screening" by a state doctor, regardless of whether the juvenile plans to present any mental health evidence at the reverse-transfer hearing.

         ¶6 Johnson petitioned this court for relief under C.A.R. 21, arguing that the trial court lacked authority to order her to (1) release her past psychotherapy and mental health records and (2) submit to a state-administered mental health screening. We issued a rule to show cause why the trial court's order should not be vacated.

         II. ...


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.