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Orellana-Leon v. People.

2023 CO 34. No. 21SC340. Criminal Law—Child Hearsay Statute—Sexual Assault on a Child.

June 12, 2023

The Supreme Court considered whether the trial court properly admitted statements the victim made when she was 15 years old under the child hearsay statute, which provides that out-of-court statements describing an offense of unlawful sexual behavior are admissible if made by a child “as child is defined under the statutes that are the subject of the action.” CRS § 13-25-129(2).

The Court held that, pursuant to the plain language of the child hearsay statute, the “subject of the action” for sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust is the substantive offense, which applies when the child is under age 18, rather than the sentence enhancer, which applies when the child is under age 15.

Accordingly, the Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals.

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