Evidence keyed to Mueller
Tome v. United States
The Petitioner was charged with felony sexual abuse of a child, his own four-year-old daughter. The Petitioner was found guilty in the District Court for violating 18 U.S.C. Section:Section: 1153, 2241 (c) and 2245(2)(A) and (B). The alleged sexual abuse occurred on a Navajo Indian Reservation. The child’s mother, the Petitioner’s ex-wife, made allegations that the Petitioner sexually abused the child. The Petitioner argued at trial that his ex-wife concocted the story so as to keep his daughter from seeing him. At trial, the prosecution’s first witness was the child. During cross-examination, the Petitioner’s attorney asked questions about the abuse and the child at many points was hesitant to answer those questions. The trial judge observed that some of the questions were imprecise and unclear. There were lapses of as much as 40-55 seconds between some of the questions and answers. The trial judge observed “We have a very difficult situation here.” The prosecution, after putting the child on the stand, put six other witnesses on the stand. Those six witnesses testified to statements made by the child to them about the sexual abuse. The witnesses included the child’s babysitter, who stated that the child told her that she did not want to be returned to her father because he “gets drunk and he thinks I’m his wife.” The child’s mother also testified to what the child told the babysitter because, she was standing outside the room when the statements were being made. A social worker an d three pediatricians were also called to testify. Most of this testimony implicated the Petitioner. The government offered the statements of these aforementioned witnesses under Federal Rules of Evidence (“F.R.E.”) Rule 801(d)(1)(B). The trial court admitted all the statements over the Petitioner’s counsel’s objection. The trial court found that the statements “rebutted the implicit charge that [the child’s] testimony was motivated by a desire to live with her mother.” Certain of the statements were also admitted under other rules of evidence. The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, finding that all the relevant statements were admissible under F.R.E. Rule 801(d)(1)(B).
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