Appeals court finds trial errors were ‘harmless,’ remands case for resentencing

Heather Willard

Heather Willard / NewsBreak Denver / March 13, 2023

(Douglas County, Colo.) An Arapahoe County woman will be resentenced on two counts of identity theft after she appealed a 2020 Douglas County jury trial conviction.

A jury convicted Tanecia Quillen, 31, of two counts of identity theft in February 2020 and subsequently sentenced in June 2020 to serve four years of supervised probation and complete 50 hours of community service.

The jury acquitted Quillen of two further counts of identity theft and one count of illegally possessing an identification document.

She appealed her case and received a written opinion on March 9 from the Colorado Court of Appeals, affirming the trial court’s verdict but remanding the case back to the Douglas County District Court for resentencing.

According to Colorado court records, the case stems from October 2018, when a hotel manager reported a “pile of driver’s licenses, (handwritten) notes (with credit card information), and Social Security cards” in the communal employee office.

The manager reported this to the police and identified the handwriting as possibly Tanecia Quillen’s, who was then a night shift employee at the hotel.

Police contacted everyone whose identity was found on the documents, notes, and credit cards and found one individual whose credit card was used repeatedly for Lyft rides.

Lyft records showed the credit card was connected to an account in Quillen’s name and connected to her phone number and email address.

The rides also show addresses associated with Quillen, including multiple rides to and from the hotel coinciding with her shifts.

Quillen appealed the jury’s decision, arguing that several errors were made by the prosecution and the judge, including admitting Lyft records.

Quillen said the records should be inadmissible because the tables were not self-authenticated and thus hearsay, but the Colorado Court of Appeals disagreed.

“We are unpersuaded by Quillen’s contention that the records weren’t admissible because the letter with the attached table and the custodian’s certification were completed after the Lyft rides occurred (approximately one month later and one year later, respectively),” the court wrote in its published opinion.

The court further explained that when data is compiled for the court is not as relevant as when the data was generated to create the compilation.

Quillen also raised an issue with the admittance of her Division of Motor Vehicles record. Still the appeals court found her attorney had failed to raise an actionable objection in court.

Instead, the attorney said “he wanted the record ‘to come in in full (to evidence).’”

However, the court found Quillen waived her right to appellate review on the DMV record issue.

She sought to have specific items from her driving record excluded, but by rejecting redactions, the whole document was allowed into evidence.

Lastly, Quillen contended a detective admitted as an expert fraud examiner was in error. During trial, her attorney argued there was no reason to qualify the detective as an expert, as he gave no such testimony.

“We see no basis for reversal,” the court opined. “Even if the trial court did not need to qualify Detective Allen as an expert, we conclude that any error was harmless for several reasons.”

Quillen was granted a resentencing hearing because she wasn’t allowed to speak before sentencing. She was scheduled to appear for a status conference on March 10. Quillen posted her $3,000 surety bond on Feb. 11, 2022.

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Public safety reporter in DougCo, Denver metro. Previously: Pueblo Chieftain public safety reporter, Athens Messenger associate editor. Caffeine fiend, cat mom and lover of all things spooky.

Broomfield, CO

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