EVIDENCE Sexual OrientationPosted by BS - 26/01/11 at 11:01 am
State v. Rackliffe, 2010 ME 70, 1 A.3d 438, Alexander, J.
This is a gross sexual assault case. The defendant argued that the trial court erred under M.R. Evid. 412 in excluding evidence of the victim’s sexual orientation. The Law Court affirmed.
The defendant argued that exploring the victim’s sexual orientation was not evidence of sexual behavior under Rule 412(b)(2) and that evidence of the victim’s sexual orientation was relevant to whether or not the victim consented. The Law Court rejected these arguments and concluded that evidence of a victim’s sexual orientation alone is irrelevant to whether the victim consented to a sexual encounter. Since the evidence was irrelevant and did not violate the defendant’s constitutional rights, it was properly excluded.
The evidence showed that the victim, who was confronted in a restroom by the defendant, who broke into a stall, did not cry out or physically resist. The defendant argued that these facts required a finding that the jury must have had a reasonable doubt. The Law Court, however, found that the evidence was sufficient to prove compulsion and that the State need not prove that the victim cried out or physically resisted the assault in order to prove compulsion.