The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in Pierson v. People on June 18, 2012.
Rape Shield Statute—Relevancy of Evidence.
Defendant sought review of the court of appeals’ judgment affirming his various convictions of felony sexual assault on a child and indecent exposure. The district court denied defendant’s pre-trial motion to admit evidence of the child’s similar victimization by a teenage cousin during the same time period. The court of appeals upheld the trial court’s ruling, finding that the proffered evidence of prior sexual contact did not fall within the rape shield exception for the source of semen, pregnancy, disease, or similar evidence of sexual intercourse, and that it was not relevant for any of the other purposes offered by defendant.
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals. The Court found that the proffered evidence amounted to evidence of specific instances of the victim’s previous sexual activity, which was neither included within the exception for alternate sources of semen, pregnancy, disease, or similar evidence, nor otherwise sufficiently probative as an alternate explanation for the victim’s sexual knowledge or pain. Therefore, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in excluding the proffered evidence.
Summary and full case available here.