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U.S. v. Knox

    Brief Fact Summary. Sergeant Bobby L. Knox (Appellant) was convicted of rape and conspiring to commit rape after having intercourse with a woman named Theresa (Victim) at a military base in Japan; Appellant claimed the sexual relations were consensual, and Victim claimed they were not. Appellant appeals his conviction here.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. It is not an abuse of discretion for a trial judge to exclude evidence of past sexual behaviors under Military Rule of Evidence 412, when that evidence is neither material nor relevant.

    Facts. Appellant’s close friend, “Lu” Castonguay, was intimately involved with Victim. After a night of drinking together, Appellant had intercourse with Victim, which Appellant maintains was consensual and Victim asserts was not. Victim claims Appellant apologized for the encounter, which Appellant denies. After seeking help at a Rape Intervention Crisis Center, Appellant was placed under arrest and subsequently convicted of rape and conspiring to commit rape.

    Issue. Should Appellant be permitted to testify, in his offer of proof under Military rule of Evidence 412(c)(2), about Victim’s alleged promiscuous sexual past?

    Held. No; such testimony is neither material nor relevant and it was not error for the trial court to disallow such evidence.

    Discussion. The court cites the purpose and rationale of the rule in reaching its holding, stating, “appellant sought to do what [Rule] 412 seeks to prevent: portray an alleged rape victim as a bad person who got no more than she deserved.”


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