State v. Lowther

Defendant was charged with the alleged rape or object rape of four women. During Defendant’s trial for the rape of K.S., the State moved to introduce the testimony of the other women, including A.P., under Utah R. Evid. 404(b) and the doctrine of chances. The district court granted the motion. Thereafter, Defendant entered a conditional guilty plea to the rapes of two of the four women. The court of appeals reversed in part, concluding (1) State v. Verde’s four foundational requirements displaced the factors set forth in State v. Shickles for purposes of a Utah R. Evid. 403 balancing test; and (2) the district court erred in its decision to admit the testimony of A.P. The Supreme Court affirmed but under different reasoning, holding (1) in applying Rule 403, a court is bound by the language of the rule but is not required to consider any set of elements or factors; and (2) the district court in this case did not abuse its discretion in failing to consider the Verde requirements but did abuse its discretion by mechanically applying the Shickles factors to assess the probative value of the State’s Rule 404(b) evidence. View "State v. Lowther" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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