Friday, May 19, 2006

Sex offenses reversed on multiple grounds

Sarah Johnson won in State v. Waddell, No. 92,378 (May 19, 2006)(unpublished), reversing rape, aggravated indecent liberties, aggravated criminal sodomy, and crimital threat convictions from Lyon County. The COA followed State v. Henderson, (blogged here)which held that admission of several of the child victim out-of-court statements under K.S.A. 60-460(dd) violated the Confrontation Clause. The state also argued that pursuant to State v. Meeks, Mr. Waddell had forfeited the right to confront. The district court had not considered forfeiture, but the COA reviewed the record and found that the state had not proved by a preponderance of evidence that Mr. Waddell had caused the child victim to be unavailable. As a result, the COA reversed and remanded for new trial.

As if that wasn't enough, the COA also found that several prior bad acts were improperly admitted under K.S.A. 60-455. The state argued that the evidence should come in to prove intent, plan, and preparation. The COA analyzed and rejected each proferred basis and held that "the error in admission of this testimony provides another basis to reverse Waddell's convictions."

[Update: the state filed a PR on June 14, 2006.]

[Further update: on June 25, 2007, the KSC ordered the parties to respond regarding whether State v. Henderson (blogged about here) is controlling in this case.]

[Further update: the KSC finally denied the state's PR on October 1, 2007, more than 16 months after Mr. Waddell won in the COA! Here is the Emporia Gazette's coverage of the denial.]

[Post-appeal update: here is the Emporia Gazette's coverage of the grant of Mr. Waddell's change of venue motion for the retrial.]

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