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Colorado Supreme Court Opinions
December 9, 2013

2013 CO 68. No. 13SA22. People v. Ramadon.
CAR 4.1 Interlocutory Appeal in Criminal Case—Suppression of Defendant’s Statements as Involuntary.

The Supreme Court held that, in a suppression hearing, when a defendant makes a prima facie evidentiary showing of involuntariness, the prosecution bears the burden, by a preponderance of the evidence, of establishing that the statements were voluntary under the totality of the circumstances. Coercive physical or psychological conduct by the government renders an otherwise voluntary statement involuntary if the conduct plays a significant role in inducing the statement.

In this case, the trial court considered the voluntariness of defendant’s statements under the totality of the circumstances and concluded they were involuntary after the forty-two-minute mark of the interview. The Supreme Court held that the record supported the trial court’s finding that police conduct during the custodial interrogation played a significant role in inducing incriminatory statements defendant made starting at minute fifty-four. Therefore, defendant’s statements must be suppressed after minute fifty-four. The suppression order was affirmed in part and reversed in part, and the case was returned to the trial court for further proceedings.

2013 CO 69. No. 13SA194. People v. Zadran.
CAR 4.1 Interlocutory Appeal in Criminal Case—Suppression of Defendant’s Statements as Involuntary.

The Supreme Court held that, in a suppression hearing, when a defendant makes a prima facie evidentiary showing of involuntariness, the prosecution bears the burden, by a preponderance of the evidence, of establishing that the statements were voluntary under the totality of the circumstances. Coercive physical or psychological conduct by the government renders an otherwise voluntary statement involuntary if the conduct plays a significant role in inducing the statement.

Applying the totality of the circumstances standard to defendant’s statements in this case, the Supreme Court held that defendant’s statements were voluntary and there was no coercive police conduct. The trial court’s suppression order was reversed.

2013 CO 70. No. 11SC597. People v. Roggow.
Criminal Acts Against Children—Status as to Child—Position of Trust.

The Supreme Court considered whether there was sufficient evidence for the jury to convict a defendant of sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust, in violation of CRS § 18-3-405.3, where the defendant was not expressly charged with a particular duty or responsibility over the child at the time of the unlawful act. The Court held that for the purposes of § 18-3-405.3, a defendant need not be expressly charged with a particular duty or responsibility over the child at the time of the unlawful act to occupy a position of trust. Rather, a defendant may occupy a position of trust with respect to the victim where an existing relationship or other conduct or circumstances establishes that the defendant is entrusted with special access to the child victim.

The Court ruled that the evidence was sufficient for a jury to conclude that defendant was in a position of trust with respect to the victim at the time of the unlawful acts. Therefore, the holding of the court of appeals was reversed and the case was remanded with directions to reinstate the conviction.

Colorado Supreme Court Opinions

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