Sunday, December 8, 2013

People v. Vigil case brief

People v. Vigil case brief summary
127 P.3d 916 (2006)


CASE SYNOPSIS
The Colorado Court of Appeals reversed defendant's conviction of sexual assault on a child upon finding that the trial court erred in admitting the child's videotaped statements to police where defendant did not have the opportunity to cross-examine the child. The appellate court also found that the child's statements to the doctor were improperly admitted. The State petitioned for certiorari.

CASE FACTS
Defendant, the child's father, and another friend were drinking. Defendant ran when the father found defendant with the child.

DISCUSSION

  • The court reversed and held that under Crawford, the child's statements to the doctor were non-testimonial because the questioning of the child was to determine his injuries, rather than as an agent of the police. 
  • Further the statements were for purposes of medical diagnosis under Colo. R. Evid. 803(4). The child's statements to his father and the other friend satisfied the Dement test because the child was unavailable to testify and the statements fell within Rule 803(2). 
  • The court also found that even without the videotaped statements to the police, the jury had an ample basis for finding defendant guilty, and thus admission did not constitute plain error. 
  • Also, the legislative history of the offense of sexual assault on a child demonstrated that word "knowingly" was inserted into the definition of the offense and the word "knowing" into the definition of "sexual contact," was to provide a mental-state requirement of general intent. 
  • Therefore, the trial court properly instructed the jury that the defense of intoxication was not available to defendant.
CONCLUSION
The court reversed the decision of the appellate court.

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