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State v. Casteneda

April 3, 1997

STATE OF WASHINGTON, RESPONDENT,
v.
JESUS SANCHEZ CASTENEDA A/K/A JESUS J. SANCHEZ, APPELLANT.



Appeal from Superior Court of Yakima County. Docket No: 94-1-01704-2. Date filed: 05/04/95. Judge signing: Hon. Heather Van Nuys.

Authored by Dennis J. Sweeney. Concurring: Frank L. Kurtz, Stephen M. Brown.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sweeney

SWEENEY, C.J. The rape shield statute precludes a defendant from introducing evidence of a victim's prior sexual activity or misconduct.

RCW 9A.44.020. Jesus Sanchez Casteneda was asked at trial why his wife, Baudelia Sanchez, would accuse him of raping her and molesting their daughter, R. By offer of proof, Mr. Casteneda testified that it was because he had discovered he was not the father of two of the couple's children. Based on the rape shield statute, the court refused the testimony. Mr. Casteneda was convicted of four counts of first degree child molestation, two counts of second degree rape, and unlawful imprisonment. An exceptional sentence of 594 months was imposed. Mr. Casteneda contends the court erred in excluding the proffered evidence and in imposing the exceptional sentence. Pro se, he contends prosecutorial misconduct denied him a fair trial. We affirm.

Discussion

Rape Shield Statute. Mr. Casteneda first contends the court erred in refusing the testimony concerning Mrs. Sanchez's prior sexual conduct based on the rape shield statute. He argues that his defense at trial was that Mrs. Sanchez was raped by individuals with whom she had had prior intimate relationships. Mr. Casteneda asserts he was prevented from presenting critical evidence to the jury. Admission of evidence under the rape shield statute is within the sound discretion of the trial court.

State v. Hudlow, 99 Wash. 2d 1, 17, 659 P.2d 514 (1983). We review the court's decision for an abuse of discretion. State v. Blum, 17 Wash. App. 37, 44, 561 P.2d 226, review denied, 89 Wash. 2d 1004 (1977).

RCW 9A.44.020 provides:

(2) Evidence of the victim's past sexual behavior including but not limited to the victim's marital history, divorce history, or general reputation for promiscuity, nonchastity, or sexual mores contrary to community standards is inadmissible on the issue of credibility and is inadmissible to prove the victim's consent except as provided in subsection

(3) . . . .

(3) In any prosecution for the crime of rape or for an attempt to commit, or an assault with an intent to commit any such crime evidence of the victim's past sexual behavior including but not limited to the victim's marital behavior, divorce history, or general reputation for promiscuity, nonchastity, or sexual mores contrary to community standards is not admissible if offered to attack the credibility of the victim and is admissible on the issue of consent only pursuant to the following procedure

(Emphasis added.)

The evidence here was offered solely to attack Mrs. Sanchez's credibility, by reference to her sexual behavior. Mr. Casteneda's intention was to show that Mrs. Sanchez fabricated the charges because he discovered her extramarital affairs. The rape shield statute precludes the admission of this evidence.

Mr. Casteneda's reliance on State v. Carver, 37 Wash. App. 122, 678 P.2d 842, review denied, 101 Wash. 2d 1019 (1984) is misplaced. There, the proffered evidence concerned the victims' prior sexual abuses. Mr. Casteneda is not seeking to admit evidence of his wife's ...


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