Brief Fact Summary. The victim claimed sexual assault by the defendant. The parties had previously engaged in consensual sex, but on the night in question, the victim claimed she was assaulted and the defendant claimed it was consensual. The defendant attempted to offer a prior instance of sexual conduct between the victim and another man, which was not allowed by the trial court.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Evidence of a victim’s prior sexual conduct is not admissible unless excluding it violates the defendant’s constitutional rights, or if the probative value outweighs the prejudicial potential.
The well-known object of this section of the constitution, which declares that no law shall embrace more than one subject, which shall be expressed in its title, was to secure to every distinct measure of legislation a separate consideration and decision, dependent solely upon its individual merits, by prohibiting the fraudulent insertion therein of matters wholly foreign, and in no way related to or connected with its subject, and by preventing the combination of different measures, dissimilar in character, purposes and objects, but united together with the sole view, by this means, of compelling the requisite support to secure their passage.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Whether evidence of the victim’s prior sexual conduct should be admissible to establish a pattern of conduct by the victim?
Held. Judge Borden issued the Court’s opinion, holding there is no error because the evidence was irrelevant and was properly not admitted, and did not deny the defendant his constitutional rights.
Discussion. One similar instance of conduct is not enough to establish a pattern. There were no other instances offered by the defendant, or similar conduct in prior sexual relations between victim and the defendant.