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Did the District Court abuse its discretion by admitting evidence of prior acts under M. During the interview, R. The victims and witnesses provided evidence covering a year period of sexually predatory behavior by Daffin, as well as his use and distribution of dangerous drugs.

The victims and witnesses provided details of how Daffin selected and groomed young female victims, eventually leading to him sexually assaulting them. She revealed that, during the time she was years old, she had been sexually assaulted by Daffin on multiple occasions; engaged in sex with Daffin in exchange for drugs; recruited other young girls to have sexual relations with Daffin; and helped to transport young girls and drugs, from Idaho to Montana, for Daffin.

When she was 12 years old, K. From the time she was 12 years old until she was approximately 18 years old, she was sexually assaulted by Daffin; had sex with Daffin in exchange for drugs and money; recruited other young girls to have sex with Daffin in exchange for drugs and money; and transported drugs and young girls for Daffin.

Additionally, the State called 29 other witnesses. These witnesses testified to aspects of the investigation and about their knowledge of Daffin's patterns of victim grooming and abuse. When the school counselor questioned R. Later, R. While not explicitly acknowledging she had made false sexual allegations, she offered that the matter was intended as a joke. Around the same time, R.

Based on this information, Daffin requested a hearing pursuant to State ex rel. Mazurek v. Court of the Montana Fourth Judicial Dist. The State has adequately explained how it intends to use the evidence to show motive, intent and mental state, knowledge, and identity, which are all permissible purposes for admitting other acts evidence. State v.

We review evidentiary rulings for an abuse of discretion, which occurs when a district court acts arbitrarily without conscientious judgment or exceeds the bounds of reason, resulting in substantial injustice. To the extent an evidentiary ruling is based on a district court's interpretation of the Montana Rules of Evidence, our review is de novo. Court of the Eighteenth Judicial Dist. Himelwright, 42 F. Daffin's legal claims are that: 1 the State broadly failed to demonstrate a proper purpose for introducing evidence of Daffin's prior bad acts; 2 the sheer amount of evidence admitted was overwhelming and prejudiced the jury; and 3 the District Court failed to fulfill its gatekeeping function under M.

Rather, we examine the purposes offered by the State under Rule bsome of which overlap, for introduction of the challenged evidence. We then address the District Court's balancing of the factors in Rule Kordonowy, Mont. In such cases, the motive is the cause and both the prior acts and the act at issue are effects. The prosecutor uses the uncharged act to show the existence of the motive, and the motive in turn strengthens the inference of the defendant's identity as the perpetrator of the charged act.

The record reflected that Daffin pursued a sexual interest in underage females for approximately 20 years.

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At trial, Daffin challenged the first and second components. He claimed that he did not abuse or sexually assault any of the victims of the charged crimes, and that any contact he had with them was appropriate. As we have ly stated, the use of other-acts evidence to prove either the actus reus or mens rea does not necessarily violate Rule b. The testimony of Daffin's ex-wife, long-time acquaintances, and former victims about Daffin's behaviors served to prove that he knowingly groomed and sexually assaulted the victims of the charged crimes.

Further, given the large of sexual charges the State had to prove, spanning many years, admission of the volume of sexual evidence was not an abuse of discretion, and the District Court properly fulfilled its gatekeeping function. Although the other acts evidence is prejudicial, it is also highly probative in view of Daffin's defense theory that the victims of the offenses of which he is charged are lying and conspired to make their accusations against him.

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The jury should be able to hear and weigh this other acts evidence. The challenged evidence was particularly probative of the lengthy and detailed process used by Daffin to systematically, over many years, obtain control over certain kinds of potential victims, groom them for abuse, physically abuse them, and coerce their secrecy about the abuse.

Higley, Mont. Section 2MCA, states:. Emphasis added. We have explained that:. The Rape Shield Law therefore cannot be applied to exclude evidence arbitrarily or mechanistically and it is the trial court's responsibility to strike a balance in each case between the defendant's right to present a defense and a victim's rights under the statute.

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A court balancing the interest of the defendant with those protected by the Rape Shield Law should require that the proffered evidence is not merely speculative or unsupported. Mazurek, Mont. Under this inquiry:. If the defendant satisfies these three conditions, the trial court will authorize cross-examination of the complaining witness concerning the alleged false accusations.

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The defendant may thereafter present extrinsic evidence of the false accusations only if the complaining witness denies or fails to recall having made such accusations. State ex rel. Patricia Thomas Thomasone of Daffin's friends and the mother of one of R. The District Court denied Daffin's request to introduce evidence about R. He argues that R. Further, Daffin asserts that most of the evidence presented at the Mazurek hearing did not relate to R. Most of the evidence presented at the hearing did not relate to R.

However, that does not mean the evidence was admissible.

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McMillan's and Eppinger's testimony about R. Further, while Daffin now argues that he wanted to offer the theory that R. For these reasons, to the extent the District Court erred in applying the Rape Shield Law, the error was harmless. Daffin was sentenced to thirteen life sentences and three one-hundred-year sentences. Some of these sentences run concurrently and some run consecutively. Some parties occurred in the mountains, at campgrounds or other recreational spots, and involved drinking alcohol and injecting, smoking, or snorting a variety of drugs, including methamphetamines, opiates, ketamine, and marijuana.

Other such parties took place at Daffin's or one of his friend's houses. The victims and witnesses used a variety of terms to describe off-road mountain driving, such as fourbying, four-wheeling, mudding, and rock climbing. Explore Resources For Practice Management.

Legal Technology. Corporate Counsel. Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select. Reset A A Font size: Print. Supreme Court of Montana. Stephens, Nick K. Fox, Montana Attorney General, C. We have explained that: The Rape Shield Law therefore cannot be applied to exclude evidence arbitrarily or mechanistically and it is the trial court's responsibility to strike a balance in each case between the defendant's right to present a defense and a victim's rights under the statute.

Under this inquiry: the defendant must establish, by a preponderance of the evidence, that 1 the accusation or accusations were in fact made; 2 that the accusation or accusations were in fact false; and 3 that the evidence is more probative than prejudicial. Thank you for subscribing! Please try again.

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