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People v. Laeke

Court of Appeals of Colorado, Seventh Division

May 31, 2018

The People of the State of Colorado, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Abel Gebre Laeke, Defendant-Appellant.

          City and County of Denver District Court No. 04CR503 Honorable Edward D. Bronfin, Judge

          Cynthia H. Coffman, Attorney General, Matthew S. Holman, First Assistant Attorney General, Denver, Colorado, for Plaintiff-Appellee

          Antony Noble, Alternate Defense Counsel, Lakewood, Colorado, for Defendant-Appellant

          OPINION

          BERNARD JUDGE

          ¶ 1 Defendant, Abel Gebre Laeke, filed a motion that asked the postconviction court to allow him to withdraw his plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. He relied on Crim. P. 32(d).

         ¶ 2 This appeal presents the question whether Rule 32(d) governed defendant's request. We conclude that it did not. We therefore affirm the postconviction court's order that denied defendant's motion.

         I. Background

         ¶ 3 In 2004, the prosecution charged defendant with one count of criminal attempt to commit unlawful sexual contact and one count of indecent exposure. These charges were based on events that occurred while defendant was a patient at a psychiatric ward in Denver. See People v. Laeke, 2012 CO 13, ¶ 3.

         ¶ 4 At defendant's arraignment, defense counsel entered an insanity plea on his behalf. Defendant objected. The trial court noted his objection, but it nonetheless decided to send him to the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo for a competency evaluation.

         ¶ 5 After the evaluation, a doctor at the Mental Health Institute decided that defendant was incompetent. The trial court agreed, and it returned him to the Mental Health Institute until he was restored to competency.

         ¶ 6 The trial court also ordered the Mental Health Institute to evaluate defendant to determine whether he had been insane at the time of the crimes. The doctor formed the opinion that defendant had been insane.

         ¶ 7 A doctor later found that defendant had been restored to competency.

         ¶ 8 The trial court set a hearing to determine the status of the case. At the hearing, the prosecution decided to stipulate that defendant had been insane at the time of the crime. See id. Defense counsel asked the court to accept a plea that defendant had been insane, despite his objection that he "hop[ed] to prove" at trial that he had not committed the crimes. Id. at ¶ 5.

         ¶ 9 The court accepted the insanity plea, and it found defendant not guilty by reason of insanity. Defendant spent ...


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