Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Farrar v. State

United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit

May 21, 2019

CHARLES FARRAR, Petitioner - Appellant,
v.
RICK RAEMISCH, Executive Director, Colorado Department of Corrections; CYNTHIA COFFMAN, Attorney General, State of Colorado; JAMES FALK, Warden, Sterling Correctional Facility, Respondents - Appellees. SCHOLARS OF FEDERAL HABEAS CORPUS, Amicus Curiae.

          Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Colorado (D.C. No. 1:15-CV-01425-RPM)

          Gail K. Johnson, Johnson & Klein, PLLC, Boulder, Colorado, for the Petitioner - Appellant.

          Ryan A. Crane, Senior Assistant Attorney General, Denver, Colorado (Cynthia H. Coffman, Attorney General, with him on the briefs), for Respondents - Appellees.

          Aurora Temple Barnes, Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie, LLP, Denver, Colorado (Kenneth F. Rossman, IV, Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie, LLP, Denver, Colorado, with her on the briefs), for Amicus Curiae.

          Before BACHARACH, BALDOCK, and EBEL, Circuit Judges

          BACHARACH, CIRCUIT JUDGE.

         Mr. Charles Farrar, a Colorado state prisoner, appeals the district court's denial of his petition for habeas relief. In district court, Mr. Farrar claimed

• actual innocence,
• deprivation of due process based on the recantation of a key prosecution witness and
• deprivation of due process based on a state appellate decision establishing an overly restrictive standard for a new trial.[1]

         The district court denied relief, and we affirm based on three conclusions:

1. Actual innocence does not supply a freestanding basis for habeas relief.
2. A private citizen's false testimony does not violate the Constitution unless the government knows that the testimony is false.
3. The alleged error in the Colorado Supreme Court's decision does not justify habeas relief.

         I. Mr. Farrar is convicted and seeks post-conviction relief.

         Mr. Farrar's convictions stemmed from complaints of sexual abuse. The victim was Mr. Farrar's stepdaughter, who complained of the alleged abuse when she was in the eighth grade. Based on the girl's account, state officials charged Mr. Farrar with over twenty counts. Mr. Farrar denied the allegations. At the trial, the girl's testimony supplied the prosecution's only direct evidence of Mr. Farrar's guilt. The jury found Mr. Farrar guilty of numerous counts of sexual assault and one count of child abuse, and the state trial court sentenced Mr. Farrar to prison for a minimum of 145 years and a maximum of life.

         Mr. Farrar appealed. While the appeal was pending, the girl recanted her trial testimony. Given the recantation, the Colorado Court of Appeals granted a limited remand to the trial court so that Mr. Farrar could move for a new trial. After Mr. Farrar filed that motion, the trial court conducted evidentiary hearings, where the girl testified that she had fabricated her allegations of sexual abuse. Nonetheless, the trial court denied the motion on the ground that the recantation was not credible.[2] Mr. Farrar appealed again, and the Colorado Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of the motion for a new trial.[3]

         On certiorari, the Colorado Supreme Court affirmed. Farrar v. People, 208 P.3d 702, 709-10 (Colo. 2009). The court deferred to the trial court's credibility determinations and clarified Colorado's standard for a new trial:

Rather than merely creating reasonable doubt by demonstrating that the recanting witness has given different and irreconcilable testimony on different occasions, recantation can justify a new trial only if it contains sufficiently significant new evidence, and if it, rather than the ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.