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People v. Wayne Robert Stewart
Colorado Supreme Court
55 P.3d 107 (2002)
Wayne Stewart (defendant) left a restaurant bar and drove across the parking lot. Witnesses said he veered toward three pedestrians and his vehicle brushed Richard Ehrmann. A verbal altercation ensued. Stewart drove angrily back and forth and hit Ehrmann, who landed on the hood then rolled off. The rear wheel ran over Ehrmann’s head, causing severe injury. Ehrmann lay comatose for over two years before dying. The prosecution (plaintiff) charged Stewart with reckless second-degree assault with a deadly weapon and vehicular assault, reckless endangerment of other pedestrians and bystanders, and violent crime. The jury convicted Stewart of reckless endangerment and reckless second-degree assault and sentenced him to five years in prison. Stewart appealed, claiming his conviction for reckless second-degree assault violated equal protection because vehicular assault carried a lesser, nonmandatory sentence. Stewart argued that the two crimes lacked any rational distinction, making a more severe penalty for one amount to disparate treatment.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Mullarkey, C.J.)
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