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People v. Bohl

Court of Appeals of Colorado, First Division

November 1, 2018

The People of the State of Colorado, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Joshua Thomas Bohl, Defendant-Appellant.

          Adams County District Court No. 14CR3620 Honorable Thomas R. Ensor, Judge

          Cynthia H. Coffman, Attorney General, Elizabeth Ford Milani, Assistant Attorney General, Denver, Colorado, for Plaintiff-Appellee

          Megan A. Ring, Colorado State Public Defender, Andrea R. Gammell, Deputy State Public Defender, Denver, Colorado, for Defendant-Appellant

          OPINION

          FOX, JUDGE

         ¶ 1 Defendant, Joshua Thomas Bohl, appeals the trial court's decision denying him access to juror contact information. We affirm. Because the record lacks evidence of jury misconduct, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in declining to release juror contact information.

         I. Background

         ¶ 2 A jury convicted Bohl of one count of first degree murder for killing his girlfriend, Jayme Hosier.

         A. Bohl's Trial

         ¶ 3 During a four-day trial, the prosecution presented evidence that Bohl killed Hosier in a Commerce City apartment. Bohl initially told police that Hosier died when a television accidentally fell on her head, but the forensic pathologist determined that Hosier died from asphyxiation due to blunt force trauma to the neck. The key dispute at trial was whether Bohl had the requisite intent to commit first degree murder. The prosecution's pathologist said that pressure to Hosier's neck would have had to continue for three to five minutes before she died, but the defense expert testified that Hosier could have died sooner, helping to negate intent.

         B. Post-Trial Hearings

         ¶ 4 The day after the verdict, a deputy district attorney who was not involved in prosecuting the case sent a text message to Shelley Hillesheim, the wife of jury foreman Mark Hillesheim. Mrs. Hillesheim and the deputy district attorney knew each other, and the deputy district attorney asked if Mr. Hillesheim would provide feedback on the trial and the prosecutors' performance during the case. Mrs. Hillesheim replied as follows:

The minute Mark got selected to sit on the case, I knew he would be the foreman too. I told him I was calling it. He took it very seriously too. It kind of amused me. He would come up and look up and research various scientific items that were presented, etc. He said he even mapped out his own timeline of events so he could try to put it together in his mind. He said he'd be more than happy to share his feedback. He took lots of notes and still is frustrated by certain things.

         ¶ 5 Following this communication, the People filed a "Notice of Juror Contact" with the trial court. In response, Bohl's counsel quickly filed a motion for a new trial. In addition to requesting a new trial, Bohl requested alternatively that the court hold a hearing on the incident and release the jurors' contact information.[1]

         ¶ 6 At a hearing on Bohl's motion, the court directed the People to subpoena the Hillesheims to a January 7, 2016, hearing. The court declined to provide juror contact information to Bohl's counsel at that time, explaining, "I'm not planning on doing that right now. If we need to, we will. ...


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