Bondsteel v. Colorado

This case involved the joinder of two separately filed cases. In the first “Motorcycle Case,”: in three separate instances, a male motorcyclist wearing a leather jacket and a motorcycle helmet that largely concealed his face approached women who were driving or parked in their cars. In each incident, the assailant showed a gun, directed the victims to move or remove parts of their clothing and expose themselves to him, and demanded that the victims give him some of their belongings. At the time of these incidents, none of the victims identified defendant James Bondsteel as the assailant. In the second “Signal Mountain Trail Case,” a man on foot attacked two women on a hiking trail. The man was dressed in full camouflage and a long parka, and his face was covered by a balaclava. He accosted the women, threatening them with a knife and cutting the hand and arm of one of them. In the course of this attack, the assailant had one of the women on the ground with his knife to her throat, lifted her shirt, opened her shorts and looked down them. The women managed to escape after hitting the man in the head with a walking stick and rocks, and, in separate line-ups conducted later, they both identified Bondsteel as their attacker. Bondsteel’s then-wife tipped police to her husband’s suspicious behavior, leading to Bondsteel’s arrest. The trial court joined the Motorcycle and the Signal Mountain Trail Cases for trial; , Bondsteel did not renew his pretrial objections to the joinder of the two cases. A jury ultimately convicted Bondsteel on eighteen of the twenty-three counts, including most but not all of the counts charged in the Signal Mountain Trail Case and many but not all of the counts charged in the Motorcycle Case. In addition, one conviction in the Signal Mountain Trail Case was for a lesser-included offense. Bondsteel appealed, arguing, as pertinent here, the trial court had committed reversible error when it joined the two cases. The Colorado Supreme Court concluded the trial court properly exercised its discretion in joining the cases at issue because the record supported the court’s findings that the joinder of the two cases satisfied the requirements of Crim. P. 8(a)(2) and Crim. P. 13 and the joinder did not prejudice Bondsteel. View "Bondsteel v. Colorado" on Justia Law