The People of the State of Colorado, Petitioner-Appellee, In the Interest of D.C., Juvenile-Appellant.
County District Court No. 15JD243 Honorable Thomas M.
J. Weiser, Attorney General, Kevin E. McReynolds, Assistant
Attorney General, Denver, Colorado, for Petitioner-Appellee
A. Ring, Colorado State Public Defender, Ryann S. Hardman,
Deputy State Public Defender, Denver, Colorado, for
1 D.C. and E.L. were committed to the Division of Youth
Corrections (DYC). During their DYC science class, D.C.
exposed one of his testicles to E.L. E.L. reported the
incident, and the prosecution filed a delinquency petition,
alleging that D.C. committed an act that, if committed by an
adult, would constitute public indecency. After a bench
trial, the juvenile court adjudicated D.C. delinquent.
2 D.C. appeals, contending that insufficient evidence
supported the adjudication. We disagree and therefore affirm.
Sufficiency of the Evidence
3 D.C. argues the prosecution failed to establish that the
DYC classroom, where D.C. exposed his testicle, was a
"public place" under the public indecency statute,
§ 18-7-301(1), C.R.S. 2018. We are persuaded the
evidence was sufficient to support the adjudication. We,
however, come to this conclusion not because the classroom
was a public place (an issue we don't reach) but because
D.C. exposed himself where members of the public were
reasonably likely to see it.
Standard of Review
4 We review challenges to the sufficiency of evidence de
novo. People in Interest of G.B., 2018 COA 77,
¶ 13. In doing so, we must determine whether the
evidence, when viewed as a whole and in the light most
favorable to the prosecution, is substantial and sufficient
to support a conclusion by a rational fact finder that the
juvenile committed the act beyond a reasonable doubt.
Id. We give the prosecution the benefit of every
reasonable inference that might fairly be drawn from the
evidence. People v. Perez, 2016 CO 12, ¶ 32.
5 We likewise interpret the public indecency statute de novo.
See People v. Halbert, 2013 COA 95, ¶ 11. We
give the statutory words their plain and ordinary meanings,
and, if the statute is unambiguous, we apply it as written.
6 As relevant here, a person commits public indecency by
knowingly exposing his genitals to the view of another under
circumstances that are likely to cause affront or alarm
"in a public place or [in a place] where the conduct may
reasonably be expected to be viewed by members of the
public." § 18-7-301(1)(e). The statute therefore
identifies two different ways to commit the crime of public
indecency - exposing oneself "in a public place" or
exposing oneself in a place where members of the public
"may reasonably be expected" to view the exposure.
See id.; see also Willhite v.
Rodriguez-Cera, 2012 CO 29, ¶ 18 ("[T]he use
of the disjunctive 'or' reflects a choice of equally
acceptable alternatives."); cf. Friend v.
People, 2018 CO 90, ¶¶ 18-19 (Where a criminal
statute sets forth different ways to commit a crime,
separated by the disjunctive "or," it
"prescribes a single crime" that "can be
committed in alternate ways.").
7 Responding to D.C.'s motion for judgment of acquittal
at trial, the prosecution argued that it had presented
sufficient evidence establishing that the DYC classroom was a
"public place" or that the exposure occurred in a
place "where the conduct might reasonably ha[ve] been
expected to be viewed by members of the
public." The juvenile court recognized that DYC
residents, teachers, and staff are "members of the
public," but ...