Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Summary 2014 WY 21

Summary of Decision February 11, 2014

District Judge Lavery delivered the opinion for the Court. Affirmed.


Docket Number: S-13-0058

URL: http://www.courts.state.wy.us/Opinions.aspx

Appeal from the District Court of Laramie County the Honorable Michael Davis, Judge

Representing Appellant: Office of the State Public Defender: Diane M. Lozano, State Public Defender; Tina N. Olson, Chief Appellate Counsel; Kirk A. Morgan, Senior Assistant Appellate Counsel. Argument by Mr. Morgan.

Representing Appellee: Gregory A. Phillips, Attorney General; David L. Delicath, Deputy Attorney General; Jeffrey S. Pope, Assistant Attorney General; Darrell D. Jackson, Director, and David E. Singleton, Student Intern, University of Wyoming, College of Law, Prosecution Assistance Program. Argument by Mr. Singleton.

Date of Decision: February 11, 2014

Facts: Delbert McDowell appeals his convictions on six counts of sexual abuse of a minor in the third degree under Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-2-316(a)(i) and one count of sexual abuse of a minor in the second degree under Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-2-315(a)(i). He claims the district court erred in holding that testimony he intended to rebut the State’s W.R.E. 404(b) evidence was evidence of his character which opened the door to rebuttal by the State pursuant to W.R.E. 404(a)(1) and W.R.E. 405(a).

Issues: McDowell presents one issue for review by this Court: Did the trial court abuse its discretion when it ruled that defense counsel opened the door and allowed the State to introduce additional 404(b) evidence?

The State rephrases the same issue: Defendants can offer evidence about relevant character traits in their case-in-chief; but on cross-examination, a prosecutor may inquire into relevant specific instances of the defendant’s conduct to rebut the offered character testimony. Here, McDowell called a witness who opined about his good character when interacting with children. On cross-examination, the prosecutor asked the witness if she knew McDowell had two misdemeanor convictions for sexually assaulting children. Did the district court abuse its discretion when it allowed these questions?

Holdings/Conclusion: The district court did not abuse its discretion when it ruled that McDowell opened the door to character evidence under Rule 404(a)(1) and Rule 405(a), and the State’s presentation of rebuttal character evidence did not violate his constitutional right to present a defense. Affirmed.
Summaries are prepared by Law Librarians and are not official statements of the Wyoming Supreme Court

[SPECIAL NOTE: This opinion uses the "Universal Citation." It was given an "official" citation when it was issued. You should use this citation whenever you cite the opinion, with a P.3d parallel citation. You will also note when you look at the opinion that all of the paragraphs are numbered. When you need to provide a pinpoint citation to a quote the universal portion of the citation will use that paragraph number. The pinpoint citation in the P.3d portion will need to have the reporter page number. If you need assistance in putting together a citation from this, or any future opinion using the Universal Citation form, please contact the Wyoming State Law Library and we will provide any needed assistance]

No comments:

Check out our tags in a cloud (from Wordle)!