Jeffrey v. District Court

In Jeffrey v. District Court, 626 P.2d 631 (Colo. 1981), the defendant was involved in an escapade that produced two charges. The first a misdemeanor (third degree assault), and the second a felony (first degree criminal trespass). The district attorney was aware of both charges. Colorado has adopted a compulsory joinder rule similar to West Virginia's, except knowledge of the several offenses being committed within a specific jurisdiction is expressed within the rule as a prerequisite to compulsory joinder of all offenses arising out of a series of acts from the same criminal episode. In Jeffrey, the defendant pled guilty to the initial misdemeanor charge and thereafter moved to dismiss the felony charge on the ground that all charges occurred during the same criminal episode, and the mandatory joinder rule compelled the district attorney to bring all charges in a single charging document. The Colorado Supreme Court held that the compulsory joinder rule prohibited the subsequent prosecution for the felony offense, reasoning that if the prosecuting authorities have knowledge of other offenses at a time when jeopardy attaches, which should have been joined in a single prosecution or should have been the basis to amend the charges to consolidate separately filed cases in a single prosecution, then the defendant cannot be prosecuted for other offenses based on the same act or series of acts arising from the same criminal episode. The court in Jeffrey concluded that "such a rule not only protects an accused from unnecessary sequential prosecutions but also safeguards the 'ethical and diligent prosecutor from technical, arbitrary bans to subsequent prosecution of companion offenses discoverable too late to permit consolidation. (197 W.Va. at 44, 475 S.E.2d at 44.) The Court opined that "the mandatory joinder rule requires the defendant to be tried in a unitary trial for multiple offenses arising out of the same transaction in order to avoid the harassment and anxiety of multiple trials." 197 W.Va. at 43, 475 S.E.2d at 43.