How do you preserve an issue for appeal in Colorado?

In order to make a legal argument on appeal, the issue must be preserved. The principal behind issue preservation is that the trial court should have an opportunity to correct its own errors before the appeals court steps in. Therefore, where an issue has not been preserved – i.e. not first brought to the attention of the trial court – it cannot be raised on appeal.

In order to determine whether a legal issue has been preserved for the purposes of appeal, consider the following four questions:

  1. Was the issue raised at the trial level and addressed by the trial court?
  2. Was the issue raised by the appellant?
  3. Was the issue timely raised?
  4. Was the issue specifically raised?

In order to preserve error for appellate review, a party must make the proper objection or motion – on the record – at the trial court level. Objections must be timely made to alert the trial court of the alleged error, as well as the grounds for the objection. An objection that does not include a legal basis may be ignored on appeal for failing to sufficiently describe the alleged error. Where an issue is important enough that it calls the fairness of the trial into question, it must be preserved through a motion for mistrial. Counsel at the trial level should move for a mistrial as soon as possible after the alleged error.

To speak with a knowledgeable Colorado appeals attorney about your cert petition, contact the Alderman Law Firm today for a free consultation.