May 24, 2019

Colorado Court of Appeals: Prosecutor’s Closing Argument Referencing Typical “Stages” Experienced by Trauma Victims Not Supported by Testimony and Severely Affected the Fairness of the Trial

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in People v. Davis on June 23, 2011.

Sexual Assault—Closing Argument—Prosecutorial Misconduct.

Defendant appealed the judgment of conviction entered on a jury verdict finding him guilty of sexual assault. He also appealed his sentence. The judgment was reversed and the case was remanded for a new trial.

Defendant contended that his conviction should be reversed because of prosecutorial misconduct in closing argument. The prosecutor described the “stages” typically experienced by trauma victims in his closing argument to bolster the victim’s credibility. No expert or lay testimony was admitted regarding experiences of trauma victims or any stages they endure. Because the prosecutor’s closing argument was not wholly rooted in the evidence presented at trial, this argument was improper. Further, the prosecutor’s improper conduct severely affected the fairness of the trial. The judgment and sentence were reversed and the case was remanded for a new trial.

This summary is published here courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer. Other summaries for the Colorado Court of Appeals on June 23, 2011, can be found here.

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