ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. — A man serving a life sentence for murdering his girlfriend’s child will receive a new trial, after the Court of Appeals determined an Arapahoe County judge improperly responded to the dismissal of a Black man from the jury.
The U.S. Supreme Court has forbidden prosecutors to excuse people from jury service based on their race, and trial judges apply a three-step process to determine whether such an excusal indicates likely discrimination.
In this instance, District Court Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr., who is now a state Supreme Court justice, wrongly allowed a prosecutor to offer additional, non-racial justifications for the dismissal during appeal, which went beyond those she offered at trial.
A spokesperson for the 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office, which prosecuted the original case, did not have an immediate comment on the ruling, but noted the prosecutors involved are no longer with the office.
A jury convicted Theodore Israel Madrid in 2012 of first-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death. Madrid argued that the death of his girlfriend’s two-year-old son was an accident while he was babysitting. At the time of his arrest, Madrid told Aurora police he was drunk and high, and that he “body slammed” the toddler while wrestling with him. He received a sentence of life in prison.
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