State v. Tennant

Defendant was married to victim for nine years.  After they divorced, defendant allegedly repeatedly called her, and later got into her vehicle and strangled her until she lost consciousness.  When she regained consciousness, she realized that she was in the trunk of her car.  He stopped the car after she kicked the speakers out.  He threatened her and then demanded that they have sex.  She stated she would have sex with him, testifying that she feared he would hurt her.  The next morning she flagged down a police officer who arrested the defendant.  When police arrested the defendant he had overdosed on his psychotic medication and police found a suicide note.  Defendant, before trial, stated an offer of proof in which he sought to introduce evidence of victim’s sexual conduct, including, inter alia, their prior sexual history, allegations of how they met and allegations of her promiscuity and adultery.  The court affirmed that the evidence was not admissible under South Carolina’s Rape Shield Statute, which states:  “The admission of a victim’s sexual conduct is limited by statute: (1) Evidence of specific instances of the victim’s sexual conduct, opinion evidence of the victim’s sexual conduct, and reputation evidence of the victim’s sexual conduct is not admissible in prosecutions under Sections 16-3-615 and 16-3-652 to 16-3-656; however, evidence of the victim’s sexual conduct with the defendant or evidence of specific instances of sexual activity with persons other than the defendant introduced to show source or origin of semen, pregnancy, or disease about which evidence has been introduced previously at trial is admissible if the judge finds that such evidence is relevant to a material fact and issue in the case and that its inflammatory or prejudicial nature does not outweigh its probative value.  Evidence of specific instances of sexual activity which would constitute adultery and would be admissible under rules of evidence to impeach the credibility of the witness may not be excluded.”



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