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Ohio Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Defendant in Rape Case

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On September 22, 2020, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled in favor of the defendant in State v. Hartman, SLIP OPINION NO. 2020-OHIO-4440.

The Court ruled that evidence of past sexual abuse of a stepdaughter should have been excluded in the trial of a defendant accused of raping an adult female acquaintance.

The defendant’s conviction was reversed since this other-acts evidence did not meet the standards under evidentiary Rules 404(B) and 403(A).

Courts are instructed to not only determine if the evidence is being offered for a non-propensity purpose, but also to weigh the probative value against the dangers of prejudice and or confusion of the issues and to craft appropriate limiting instructions when such evidence is deemed admissible.