State v. Pitt

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Evidence
  • Date Filed: 10-18-2012
  • Case #: S058996
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Durham, J., for the Court; Balmer, C.J.; De Muniz, J.; Kistler, J.; Walters, J.; and Linder, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Prior bad act evidence is not admissible to bolster a victim's credibility in identifying her abuser if there is ongoing contact between the victim and defendant. Prior bad act evidence is also not admissible to prove intent until facts establishing the charged conduct have been introduced.

Defendant was convicted of first-degree unlawful sexual penetration and first-degree sexual abuse. He appealed, asserting as error the trial court's denial of an in limine motion to exclude evidence of prior uncharged sexual misconduct with the victim and another child. The trial court found that the evidence was relevant to establish Defendant's intent as well as identity, but the Court of Appeals held that it was only permissible to establish identity. The Supreme Court reversed, explaining that the evidence did not fit into the modus operandi exception, nor did the fact of abuse bolster the victim's ability to identify Defendant. They had ongoing contact, and under those circumstances, the evidence did not bolster victim's credibility for identifying her abuser. Additionally, the Court held that the evidence could not be properly admitted to prove intent because, when the order was denied, there was no evidence that the charged conduct had occurred. Reversed and remanded.

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