State v. Friedrich

Defendant was convicted of two counts of second-degree sexual assault for assaulting his 14-year old niece by marriage.  The Wisconsin Supreme Court held that the trial court correctly refused to allow a psychologist for the defense to testify that the defendant did not fit the psychological profile of incestuous sex offenders.  It held that testimony regarding defendant’s sex acts against minors was admissible.  It also held that testimony by an adult woman of defendant’s 13, although an error, was harmless error.  The court agreed that the testimony of the two individuals regarding sex acts against minors was admissible because it showed a “general scheme or motive to obtain sexual gratification from young girls” under Wisconsin evidentiary law.  It agreed that admitting the testimony of the woman who alleged 13 was error since it did not similarly show a general scheme, but that admission was harmless error since it was not possible that the error contributed to the defendant’s conviction.  The court noted that the trial court applies a two step process to determine whether evidence of other crimes is admissible, looking at whether it falls into one of the exceptions listed in the applicable statute, and second determining whether prejudice outweighs the probative value of the evidence.  Additionally, in sex crime cases involving children, the court noted that there is “greater latitude of proof as to other like occurrences.”



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