by Peter Grady–
A case against involving an alleged sexual assault on a child will be moving forward following a Colorado Supreme Court ruling in favor of an appeal filed by Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck.
The case involved Yrineo Salazar, who is accused of sexual assault on a child. During pre-trial motions, Salazar’s attorney attempted to introduce evidence that the victim’s grandfather, who was present in the home at the time the incidents had occurred, had sexually assaulted his own daughter when she was a child and as such he had motive and opportunity to commit the offenses rather than Salazar.
The Weld County District Attorney objected saying the evidence was improper, however, Weld County District Court Judge Timothy Kerns ruled in favor of the defense saying the evidence was relevant and admissible.
This prompted Buck to appeal directly to the Colorado Supreme Court arguing that the grandfather had never been charged with criminally abusing his daughter and to allow the evidence would shift the focus of the trial from the past abuse of the victim in this case to the past abuse of the daughter.
In a rare opinion, the Colorado Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.
The Supreme Court found the defense argument to be “circular” and that the evidence proposed by the defense consisted of uninvestigated allegations against an alleged alternative suspect. The Supreme Court found the value of such evidence, if any, was substantially outweighed by the danger of confusing the issues and misleading the jury.
In the ruling, the Supreme Court explained, “The trial court placed too much weight on the circumstantial evidence of identification and underestimated the risk of confusion of the issues material to [the] case, i.e. whether the defendant committed the acts charged.”
The Colorado Supreme Court found that the Weld County trial court abused its discretion and remanded the case back to the Weld County court for trial where the defense will not be able to offer the inadmissible evidence.
While the trial was previously postponed pending the Supreme Court’s ruling, the case is now moving forward and is scheduled for a status conference on April 9.
Tags: abuse, Attorney, Buck, case, child, Colorado, Colorado Supreme Court, County District, Court, daughter, District Attorney, evidence, opinion, Supreme, Supreme Court, Weld County, Weld County District Attorney, Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck, Weld County District Court Judge Timothy Kerns, Yrineo Salazar