Home » Colorado Supreme Court strikes down child sexual abuse law that allowed lawsuits over abuse from decades ago

Colorado Supreme Court strikes down child sexual abuse law that allowed lawsuits over abuse from decades ago

by Derek Andrews
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The Supreme Court docket of the State of Colorado struck down the state’s Child Sexual Abuse Accountability Act (CSAAA) on Tuesday, ruling that the regulation violates the state structure and is “unconstitutionally retrospective.” Justice Monica M. Márquez authored the opinion of the courtroom.

The courtroom dominated that the CSAA violates Article II, Section 11 of the Colorado Constitution, often known as the retrospectivity clause. This part forbids the state legislature from passing “ex submit facto” legal guidelines. It’s based mostly on Article I Section 9 of the US Constitution, which prevents Congress from passing these legal guidelines.

The courtroom held that the CSAAA is unconstitutionally retrospective as a result of it creates a brand new reason behind motion for conduct that predated the act and would have been time-barred by the declare’s statute of limitation. The courtroom famous that the retrospectivity clause prevents legislators from “altering the foundations after the actual fact.”

The Colorado Normal Meeting handed the CSAAA in 2021. The regulation creates a statutory reason behind motion for victims of sexual misconduct that occurred whereas the sufferer was a minor taking part in a youth-related program. Below the regulation, a sufferer might sue an actor and group for sexual misconduct, however a corporation might solely be sued if it knew or ought to have recognized in regards to the threat of sexual misconduct. Moreover, the regulation created a three-year window for victims to sue for misconduct that occurred between 1960 and January 1, 2022.

On this case, when victims sued for earlier sexual misconduct, the trial courtroom dismissed the case, ruling that the regulation was unconstitutional. The plaintiffs appealed, and the Colorado Supreme Court docket granted their petition for writ of certiorari below C.A.R. 50 as a result of the matter entails a matter that’s of “ample public significance.” The Colorado Supreme Court docket affirmed the trial courtroom’s choice.

The Colorado Supreme Court docket famous that the CSAAA unlawfully “attaches legal responsibility to conduct that predates the Act and for which beforehand accessible causes of motion could be time-barred.” The courtroom’s choice solely applies to claims which are already time-barred by the statute of limitations. The courtroom famous that it understands “the Normal Meeting’s want to proper the wrongs of [the] previous” however says it “could accomplish its ends solely by constitutional means.”

Source / Picture: jurist.org

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