State v. Allen
The test for admissibility in the 2008 Connecticut Supreme Court case of State v. DeJesus requires a showing that the prior misconduct evidence is relevant to demonstrate the defendant's propensity to engage in the sexual acts charged and that its probative value is not outweighed by its prejudicial effect; it does not require a showing that the prior misconduct in fact occurred or that such evidence satisfy a heightened standard of reliability. Following a jury trial, Edward Allen was convicted on counts of sexual assault in the first degree and risk of injury to a child, arising from allegations made by a child whose family lived with Allen when she was approximately six or seven years old. Allen appealed claiming, inter alia, that the evidence did not support the verdict and the court improperly admitted evidence of prior uncharged sexual misconduct. The Appellate Court affirmed the judgment. In challenging the sufficiency of the evidence, the defendant argued that the jury could not reasonably have relied on the victim's incriminating testimony given numerous inconsistencies and such testimony as that, for her, there was more than one reality. However, determining whether her relevant testimony was truthful was a matter for the jury, not the court to resolve. The trial court properly admitted evidence of uncharged misconduct regarding J.C., a female neighbor frequently at Allen's residence when aged nine to 15 years old. The court did not abuse its discretion by concluding that the uncharged misconduct was committed against a similar victim or that the uncharged misconduct evidence was sufficiently similar to the charged conduct. Case law did not support the defendant's argument that the trial court had an obligation to preclude the state from presenting J.C.'s testimony because she admitted to filing a false police report regarding the alleged prior misconduct and otherwise lacked credibility. The test for admissibility in DeJesus does not require a showing that the prior misconduct occurred or that such evidence satisfy a heightened standard of reliability. J.C.'s testimony tended to support the fact for which it was offeredthat the defendant engaged in prior sexual misconduct. A reasonable jury could deem her testimony credible. Weaknesses in her testimony, amply brought out by the defendant, were fodder for the jury's consideration, but did not affect admissibility.