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State v. Awbery

State v. Awbery, 2016 MT 48 (March 1, 2016) (McGrath, C.J.; Cotter, J., concurring) (7-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court properly excluded evidence that some of the victims had suffered prior sexual abuse by others; (2) whether Awbery is entitled to a new trial based on prosecutorial misconduct; and (3) whether Awbery is entitled to a new trial based on the cumulative effect of several alleged errors.

Short Answer: (1) Yes; (2) no; and (3) no.

Affirmed

Facts: The state charged Awbery with two counts of incest against his daughter, AA, when she was 12 or younger; sexual assault and sexual intercourse without consent against AA’s half-sister, JG, when she was 16 or younger; sexual intercourse without consent again IA when she was 12 or younger; and sexual assault against NH when she was 16 or younger.…

State v. Colburn

State v. Colburn, 2016 MT 41 (Feb. 23, 2016) (McGrath, C.J.; McKinnon, J., concurring) (7-0, rev’d & remanded)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred in disqualifying Colburn’s expert witness from testifying at trial; and (2) whether the district court erred in its application of the Rape Shield law to exclude evidence Colburn offered at trial.

Short Answer: (1) Yes; and (2) yes.

Reversed and remanded for a new trial

Facts: The state charged Colburn with two counts of incest involving his daughter, CC, one count of sexual intercourse without consent and two counts of sexual assault involving a neighbor girl, RW, all felonies. Both girls were 11 years old at the time of the offenses. RW testified at trial that Colburn touched her private parts manually and with his penis.…

State v. McAlister

State v. McAlister, 2016 MT 14 (Jan. 19, 2016) (Rice, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred by denying McAlister’s motions to dismiss, and (2) whether McAlister’s trial counsel provided ineffective assistance by failing to call any expert witnesses.

Short Answer: (1) No, and (2) this issue is more properly brought in a petition for postconviction relief.

Affirmed

Facts: McAlister was charged with sexual intercourse without consent after four-year-old AH told her grandmother stories that suggested possible sexual abuse. At trial, AH testified. The state called several experts, and McAlister called none.…

State v. Given

State v. Given, 2015 MT 273 (Sept. 15, 2015) (McGrath, C.J.) (7-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court abused its discretion in permitting AU to testify about prior sexual abuse by Given; (2) whether the district court abused its discretion when it limited the defense examination of witnesses regarding specific instances of conduct; and (3) whether the district court abused its discretion in admitting testimony from the state’s expert, Wendy Dutton.

Short Answer: (1) No; (2) no; and (3) no.

Affirmed

Facts: In April 2011, Detective Kevin Cunningham responded to a report of sexual abuse of KF, a 10-year-old boy. Cunningham interviewed KF, who disclosed three incidents in which his neighbor, Given, had touched him inappropriately over the past year.…

State v. Champagne

State v. Champagne, 2013 MT 190 (July 16, 2013) (5-0) (Morris, J.)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court properly denied Champagne’s for-cause challenge of a prospective juror; (2) whether Champagne’s counsel provided ineffective assistance; (3) whether the district court properly admitted the forensic interviewer’s testimony; (4) whether the district court properly admitted JB’s prior consistent statements; and (5) whether the district court imposed an illegal sentence.

Short Answer: (1) Yes; (2) the record does not support this claim on direct appeal; it should be brought in a post-conviction proceeding; (3) yes; (4) yes; and (5) no, but future restitution has to be in a specific amount, and is remanded for correction of this issue.

Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded

State v. Baker

State v. Baker, 2013 MT 113 (April 30, 2013) (5-0) (McGrath, C.J.)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred in admitting into evidence a recorded interview with the victim; (2) whether sufficient evidence supported the conviction; (3) whether the district court erred in denying Baker’s motion for a new trial; and (4) whether’s Baker’s attorney provided ineffective assistance at trial.

Short Answer: (1) No; (2) yes; (3) no; and (4) the Court declines to address this issue.

Affirmed