Women and Justice: Court: Court of Appeals Third District

Domestic Case Law

Daria W. v. Bradley W Court of Appeals Third District (2000)

Sexual violence and rape

The petitioner filed for an order of protection for her minor child against the respondent, Bradley W., the child’s father. On appeal, the defendant argued that the trial court made a mistake in applying section 606(e) of the Marriage Act to admit the minor child’s hearsay statements alleging sexual abuse by the father. The Court of Appeals looked at two different statutes that could apply to the legal issue, and according to the rule of statutory construction the more specific statute governed, which is what the trial court had followed. The Court decided that they were in no position to question the trial court’s conclusions, so they affirmed the judgment.

United States v. Afolabi, 508 Fed. Appx. 11 (3d Cir. 2013) Court of Appeals Third District (2013)

Sexual violence and rape, Trafficking in persons

Afolabi was convicted in district court on twenty two counts relating to her participation in a visa fraud and human trafficking scheme. From October 2002 through September 2007, Afolabi and her family trafficked over twenty West African girls into the U.S. and forced them into unpaid labor. At trial, the prosecution introduced evidence of the physical, psychological, and sexual abuse the girls endured at the hands of Afolabi and her family in the U.S. and Togo. Specifically, the prosecution used evidence of abuse in Togo to establish the involuntary nature of the girls’ servitude. On appeal, Affolabi claimed the court erred in admitting evidence of acts occurring prior to the indictment period. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals held that the evidence was properly introduced because the evidence of prior bad acts in Togo met the requirements of Federal Rule of Evidence 404(b). The Court held that the evidence had a proper evidentiary purpose because it served to illustrate a plan or scheme to coerce the girls into servitude in the U.S. The Court further held that such evidence was relevant because it could contribute to the jury’s determination of the girls’ inability to leave. Additionally, the Court found that any potential prejudice resulting from the Togo evidence did not substantially outweigh its probative value especially in light of the limiting instruction provided by the trial judge.