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People v. Hunter

2013 Colo. 48, 307 P.3d 1083 (2013)

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People v. Hunter

Colorado Supreme Court

2013 Colo. 48, 307 P.3d 1083 (2013)

Facts

James Hunter (defendant) broke into his neighbor’s home and sexually assaulted his neighbor and her five-year-old daughter. Hunter broke into the neighbor’s home at night, hit her on the head to disorient her, and held a blanket over her head during the sexual assault. Hunter then forced his neighbor’s daughter to drink alcohol before also sexually assaulting the daughter. Hunter wore a full-face mask during both assaults. Hunter was convicted of sexual assault and was classified as a sexually violent predator (SVP). The jury found that Hunter was a stranger to his victims, which was a prerequisite for SVP classification, because he obscured his identity during the assault. Hunter’s neighbor had only interacted with him once prior to the assault. Hunter appealed, arguing that he did not meet the criteria to be classified as an SVP because he was not a stranger to his neighbor or her daughter. The court of appeals reversed, holding that whether an offender was a stranger to the victim must be determined by considering the relationship as a whole, not just whether the victim could identify the offender during the sexual assault. The Colorado Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Rice, J.)

Dissent (Márquez, J.)

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