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People v. Garcia

Court of Appeals of Colorado, Fifth Division

December 27, 2018

The PEOPLE of the State of Colorado, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Tanya Marie GARCIA, Defendant-Appellant.

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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          Weld County District Court No. 15CR159, Honorable Julie C. Hoskins, Judge

         Cynthia H. Coffman, Attorney General, Rebecca A. Adams, Senior Assistant Attorney General, Denver, Colorado, for Plaintiff-Appellee

          Megan A. Ring, Colorado State Public Defender, Mackenzie Shields, Deputy State Public Defender, Denver, Colorado, for Defendant-Appellant

         OPINION

         RICHMAN JUDGE

         [¶ 1] Defendant, Tanya Marie Garcia, appeals the judgment of conviction entered on a jury verdict finding her guilty of one count of felony menacing, seven counts of reckless endangerment, and one count of reckless driving. We affirm.

          I. Background

         [¶ 2] On January 24, 2014, Garcia became convinced that one of her children’s friends, a twelve-year-old boy named T.H., had stolen a bottle of nail polish from her home. Garcia drove to a local park and confronted T.H., who claimed that Garcia’s daughter had given him the nail polish. A heated argument ensued in which Garcia threatened to assault T.H., causing T.H. to retreat. Garcia then returned to her SUV, started the car, accelerated over the curb in the direction of T.H., and drove across the park. T.H. testified that he had to hide behind a fence to avoid being hit by Garcia’s car. At the time of the incident, many children were in the park. Some of those children testified at trial and were named victims in this case.

         [¶ 3] During voir dire, Garcia’s counsel informed prospective jurors that they would be hearing testimony from alleged victims who were children. Counsel then made various inquiries as to whether each prospective juror

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could fairly judge the credibility of children and whether a juror’s sympathy for children would trigger bias against Garcia.

         [¶ 4] Along with several other prospective jurors who expressed concerns, prospective juror J.P. indicated that while he had had a "soft spot" for his young children, he felt he could "comply with what [the judge was] asking," although it might be difficult. He also noted, "I feel like children are so innocent. I don’t know when they don’t become innocent but my two little — two girls are — are so innocent and that does weigh on me." Garcia’s counsel later challenged J.P. for cause, arguing that he could not fairly evaluate a child witness’s credibility. The trial court denied Garcia’s challenge. ...


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