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State v. Blair

Court of Appeals of Washington, Division 2

April 24, 2018

STATE OF WASHINGTON, Appellant,
v.
MASON BLAIR Appellant.

          MELNICK, J.

         The State charged Mason Blair in juvenile court with rape in the second degree of another juvenile, EF. Blair and EF both testified at trial. The defense attempted to cross-examine EF if, prior to accusing Blair of rape, she knew Blair had a criminal history of sexual crimes. The trial court allowed limited cross-examination on this topic. On appeal, Blair argues that the trial court violated his constitutional right to present a defense and to confront witnesses by limiting cross-examination.[1] We affirm.

         FACTS

         I. The Incident

         On April 30, 2016, Blair and his female cousin KA each invited a friend to join them for a sleepover at their grandmother's house. Blair brought his male friend BS; KA brought her female friend EF. EF had a boyfriend, who was not present. The four teens spent the evening together. Around midnight, the two girls went to bed in KA's room and the two boys went to bed in Blair's room.

         Later in the night, the boys entered KA's room and told EF to leave so that KA and BS could spend time together. At this point EF's and Blair's versions of what happened diverged.

         A. EF's Testimony

         Per EF, she went to Blair's room and laid on the bed. Blair entered, sat next to EF, attempted to kiss her, and asked EF to have sex with him. EF refused, saying "No. I have a boyfriend." 1 Report of Proceedings (RP) at 134.

         EF testified that Blair then held her down on the bed, removed her leggings, and raped her. Blair ignored her repeated requests that he "stop" and "get off [of her]." 1 RP at 28; 1 RP at 134-36. Eventually, EF pushed Blair off with her knee and left the room. EF and KA left the house shortly thereafter. EF went to the hospital, where she received a sexual assault examination.

         B. Blair's Testimony

         Blair claims that while lying next to EF on the bed, he and EF "shared a mutual kiss" that lasted until Blair attempted to remove EF's pants. 2 RP at 192. EF stopped him, removed the pants herself, and laid back on the bed. They then had intercourse. Blair stated that EF soon became nervous Blair's grandmother would come in. She insisted they stop, and they did. Blair initially denied that EF ever told him "no" or "stop." 2 RP at 193. In a later statement, Blair acknowledged that after intercourse began EF told him to "stop" and "get off" because she was afraid they would be caught. 2 RP at 197, 215. Blair told EF to "just let it happen." 2 RP at 215.

         II. Procedural History

         The State charged Blair with rape in the second degree by forcible compulsion. The matter proceeded to trial.

         Prior to the events giving rise to this case, Blair had two adjudications for sexual crimes, one count of indecent liberties and one count of attempted rape of a child in the first degree. At the time of the sleepover, Blair was serving a Special Sex Offender Disposition Alternative (SSODA) sentence for these convictions. The court did not admit any direct evidence of prior convictions at trial. However, trial testimony established that Blair was on probation, that he had at least one prior offense that was sexual in nature, and that EF knew why Blair was on probation.

         During EF's cross-examination, Blair attempted to elicit testimony that EF knew about his criminal history prior to accusing him of rape. The following exchange occurred:

[Defense]: Okay. And while you were there you learned that [Blair] was on probation, correct?
[EF]: Yes.
[Defense]: And you learned that [Blair] had a history of sexual offenses?
[Prosecutor]: Objection. Again, beyond the scope of direct.
THE COURT: Sustained.
[Defense]: Did you learn what [Blair] was on ...

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