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Criminal Practice – Sexual Battery – Evidence – Prior Bad Acts

Criminal Practice – Sexual Battery – Evidence – Prior Bad Acts

Defendant’s 2015 act of exposing himself to the victim in her storage shed and saying, “Look what you did to me,” unquestionably tended to show his purpose in assaulting the victim on her patio the following summer. Because the state was obliged to prove defendant’s guilt of each essential element of sexual battery beyond a reasonable doubt, we cannot agree with his assertion that his 2015 conduct “had little probative value.”

We find no error in defendant’s conviction of sexual battery.

Nor did the evidence of defendant’s prior bad act create a substantial risk of unfairly prejudicing him in the eyes of the jury, as contemplated by N.C. R. Evid. 403. However unsavory defendant’s 2015 behavior, it did not involve his actual touching of the victim in a sexual manner against her will. The evidence of his “prior bad act” thus seems unlikely to have inflamed the passions of the jury, given the nature of the acts for which he was on trial.

State v. Harden (Lawyers Weekly No. 012-260-19, 9 pp.) (Donna Stroud, J.) Appealed from Union County Superior Court (Julia Lynn Gullett, J.) Lisa Finkelstein for the state; Drew Nelson for defendant. N.C. App. Unpub.

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