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Colorado Supreme Court Opinions
May 12, 2014

2014 CO 29. No. 11 SC165. Sanchez v. People.
Criminal Law—Jury Instructions.

Defendant petitioned for review of the court of appeals’ judgment affirming his conviction for sexual assault on a child as part of a pattern of abuse. The trial court entered judgment of conviction for a class 3 felony, having found two out of six enumerated touching incidents presented on a verdict form entitled “Sexual Assault on a Child–Pattern of Abuse.” A majority of the court of appeals found that defendant had been adequately charged in a single count with both the elements of sexual assault on a child and the pattern-of-abuse sentence enhancer, apart from the count charging sexual assault on a child. The court of appeals also held that the jury’s instructions did not make the finding of a pattern of abuse contingent on first finding defendant’s guilt of the separately charged crime of sexual assault on a child.

The Supreme Court reversed the court of appeals’ judgment affirming defendant’s conviction of sexual assault on a child. The Court found that the verdict form by which the jury found defendant guilty of sexual assault on a child–pattern of abuse did not offer the jury an opportunity to find that he committed the elements of sexual assault on a child, and instead reflected at most the jury’s factual finding of two incidents of sexual contact.

2014 CO 30. No. 12SC501. Industrial Claim Appeals Office v. Softrock Geological Services, Inc.
Colorado Employment Security Act—Employment Law.

The Supreme Court held that there is no dispositive single factor or set of factors to determine whether an individual is an independent contractor under the Colorado Employment Security Act. The question of whether an individual is “customarily engaged in an independent trade, occupation, profession, or business related to the service performed” can be resolved only by applying a totality of the circumstances test that evaluates the dynamics of the relationship between the putative employee and the employer. Therefore, the Court agreed with the court of appeals that several factors must be analyzed to make the determination, but disagreed that there was a set of defining factors. The judgment was affirmed and the case was remanded with directions.

2014 CO 31. No. 12SC911. Western Logistics, Inc. v. Industrial Claim Appeals Office.
Colorado Employment Security Act—Employment Law.

The Supreme Court held that there is no dispositive single factor or set of factors to determine whether an individual is an independent contractor under the Colorado Employment Security Act. The question of whether an individual is “customarily engaged in an independent trade, occupation, profession, or business related to the service performed” can be resolved only by applying a totality of the circumstances test, as laid out in Industrial Claim Appeals Office v. Softrock Geological Services, Inc., 2014 CO 30. The judgment was reversed and the case was remanded with directions.

Colorado Supreme Court Opinions

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