to the District Court El Paso County District Court Case No.
13CV31542 Honorable Thomas L. Kennedy, Judge
Attorneys for Petitioner: Douglas K. Wilson, Public Defender
Tracy C. Renner, Deputy Public Defender Denver, Colorado
Attorneys for Respondent: Daniel H. May, District Attorney,
Fourth Judicial District Katherine Brownlow, Deputy District
Attorney Colorado Springs, Colorado
In this case, we review the district court's order in
People v. Roberts, No. 13CV31542 (El Paso Cty. Dist.
Ct. May 27, 2014), affirming petitioner Monica Roberts's
county court conviction for harassment. Ms. Roberts's
contention is narrow. She asserts that pursuant to our
opinion in People v. Pickering, 276 P.3d 553 (Colo.
2011), self-defense is an affirmative defense to all crimes
requiring intent, knowledge, or willfulness. She thus
contends that (1) she was entitled to a self-defense
affirmative defense instruction to the specific intent crime
of harassment and (2) the county court's refusal to give
such an instruction constituted reversible error.
Because Pickering does not establish the broad,
bright-line rule that Ms. Roberts asserts, we are not
persuaded by her argument. Accordingly, we affirm the
district court's judgment.
Facts and Procedural History
The People charged Ms. Roberts with one count each of
third-degree assault and harassment. The charges stemmed from a
May 2012 incident in which Ms. Roberts hit her estranged
husband, Scott Roberts, in the face several times during an
¶4 The case proceeded to a jury trial in county court.
At trial, Mr. and Ms. Roberts both testified and provided
differing accounts of the incident at issue.
According to Mr. Roberts's testimony, the couple began
arguing while driving home from dinner. The argument
escalated, and Ms. Roberts became combative, hitting him on
the arm several times, although the impact "wasn't
that major." Once the two arrived home, Ms. Roberts
jumped out of the vehicle and "took off" down the
sidewalk. Mr. Roberts, concerned for her safety, went after
her and tried to calm her down and get her to come home. Ms.
Roberts, whom Mr. Roberts characterized as "an angry
drunk, " continued cursing and "flexing" and
ultimately hit Mr. Roberts with a closed fist in the mouth
and eye, leaving him dazed. Mr. Roberts returned home and
reported the incident to the police.
Ms. Roberts, in contrast, testified that while Mr. Roberts
was driving, he called her "a whore and a bitch"
and that she just wanted to get out of the car. She began to
"mess" with the door handle to get out, and Mr.
Roberts accelerated. Ms. Roberts then went to grab the
steering wheel "to try to scare [Mr. Roberts], so he
would pull the car over." Mr. Roberts struck her, and
the two began hitting each other. The couple eventually
arrived home, and before Mr. Roberts had even parked, Ms.
Roberts jumped out and ran. Mr. Roberts chased after her and
grabbed her arms. Fearing that if Mr. Roberts got her into
the house, then she "wasn't going to be able to get
out, " Ms. Roberts punched Mr. Roberts twice. He let go
of her, and she ran.
¶7 As pertinent here, Ms. Roberts specifically denied
striking Mr. Roberts with the intent to harass, annoy, or
alarm him. She said that her sole intent was "just to
get as far away from him as [she] could."
At the close of the evidence, the county court held a jury
instruction conference. During the conference, Ms. Roberts
tendered two separate instructions describing the
relationship between self-defense and the harassment charge.
The first proffered instruction provided:
The evidence in this case has given rise to an affirmative
defense to the charge of third degree ...