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.

Ybanez v. People

Supreme Court of Colorado, En Banc

March 12, 2018

Nathan Gayle Ybanez, Petitioner
v.
The People of the State of Colorado. Respondent

         Certiorari to the Court of Appeals Court of Appeals Case No. 11CA434

          Attorneys for Petitioner: Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP Shannon Wells Stevenson Emily L. Wasserman Claire E. Mueller Denver, Colorado.

          Attorneys for Respondent: Cynthia H. Coffman, Attorney General John T. Lee, Assistant Attorney General Denver, Colorado.

          Attorney for Amicus Curiae Colorado Office of the Child's Representative: Colorado Office of the Child's Representative Sheri Danz, Deputy Director Denver, Colorado.

          Attorneys for Amici Curiae Juvenile Law Center, et al.: Juvenile Law Center Marsha Levick Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

          Colorado Juvenile Defender Center Hannah Seigel Proff Denver, Colorado.

          Attorneys for Amici Curiae Legal Ethics Professors: University of Colorado Law School Melissa Hart Boulder, Colorado.

          University of Denver Sturm College of Law Eli Wald Denver, Colorado.

          Attorney for Amicus Curiae the Twentieth Judicial District, Office of the District Attorney: Stanley L. Garnett, District Attorney Boulder, Colorado.

          OPINION

          COATS JUSTICE.

         ¶1 Ybanez petitioned for review of the court of appeals' judgment affirming his conviction of first degree murder and directing that his sentence of life without the possibility of parole be modified only to the extent of permitting the possibility of parole after forty years. See People v. Ybanez, No. 11CA0434 (Colo.App. Feb. 13, 2014). In an appeal of his conviction and sentence, combined with an appeal of the partial denial of his motion for postconviction relief, the intermediate appellate court rejected Ybanez's assertions that the trial court abused its discretion and violated his constitutional rights by failing to sua sponte appoint a guardian ad litem; that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel both because his counsel's performance was adversely affected by a non-waivable conflict of interest under which that counsel labored and because he was prejudiced by a deficient performance by his counsel; and that he was entitled to an individualized determination regarding the length of his sentence rather than merely the possibility of parole after forty years.

         ¶2 Because Ybanez lacked any constitutional right to a guardian ad litem and the trial court did not abuse its discretion in not appointing one as permitted by statute; because Ybanez failed to demonstrate either an adverse effect resulting from an actual conflict of interest, even if his counsel actually labored under a conflict, or that he was prejudiced by his counsel's performance, even if it actually fell below the required standard of competent representation; and because Ybanez is constitutionally and statutorily entitled only to an individualized determination whether life without the possibility of parole or life with the possibility of parole after forty years is the appropriate sentence, the judgment of the court of appeals is affirmed, and the case is remanded with directions to return it to the trial court for resentencing consistent with the opinion of this court.

         I

         ¶3 In 1999, a month before his eighteenth birthday, Nathan Gayle Ybanez was convicted as an adult of first degree murder for the 1998 beating and strangulation death of his mother, and he was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. He did not appeal his conviction or sentence, but in 2007 he filed a motion for postconviction relief pursuant to Crim. P. 35(c), challenging the effectiveness of his counsel's representation and the constitutionality of his sentence. That motion was heard in 2009 and partially granted in 2011, only to the extent of reinstating his right to appeal. He then filed an appeal of his conviction and sentence, as well as an appeal of the denial of the remainder of his motion for postconviction relief, which were heard by the court of appeals as a single combined appeal. The court of appeals affirmed the lower courts, and the defendant petitioned this court for a writ of certiorari.

         ¶4 At trial, the prosecution's case was presented largely through the testimony of the officers who apprehended the defendant attempting to dispose of his mother's body and who investigated the scenes of both the arrest and the murder; the pathologist who performed the autopsy; and the testimony of one of the three young men who conspired to clean up the scene, dispose of the body, and cover up the murder, but who had subsequently agreed to testify in exchange for not being charged for his participation. In addition, the prosecution presented the testimony of the defendant's father, who had been with the defendant and his mother earlier in the day of the murder and who had persuaded the mother not to immediately send the defendant to military school; the defendant's girlfriend, whom the defendant called immediately after the murder and who warned the other two conspirators of the police investigation implicating them; and a friend of the victim, who had no first-hand knowledge of the killing. The defendant did not testify on his own behalf or present any witnesses.

         ¶5 The evidence presented at trial was to the effect that on the evening before her murder, the victim packed her car with things the defendant would need at a military school to which she intended to take him the next day. At her request, the father, who had moved out of the family home over tension concerning how to deal with increasingly problematic behavior of the defendant, came to the apartment the next morning, but rather than helping take the defendant to the military school as intended, managed to persuade the victim to agree to give the defendant another chance to change his behavior. That afternoon the defendant worked his job at Einstein's Bagel's, where he told his friend and fellow punk-band member Bret Baker, and had already told their mutual friend and bandleader Eric Jensen, that he was going to kill his mother that night. Baker testified that the defendant had made similar statements before and that he did not take the threat seriously.

         ¶6 Baker recounted that sometime after 9 p.m. he got a page from the defendant and upon calling back, both the defendant and Jensen told him to hurry over to the defendant's apartment. On arrival he was met at the door by Jensen, who appeared scared and had blood on his face, and he saw the defendant, who was blood-soaked and cleaning blood from the carpet. Baker testified that despite his initial resistance, at Jensen's order he helped clean and dispose of bloody items, and he described how the defendant and Jensen took showers and how all three filled eight to twelve ...


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.