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Allen v. Barnes
United States District Court for the Eastern District of California
2015 WL 1999820 (2015)
Kelvin Menjeryl Allen (defendant) shot his girlfriend, Mickey Kentra. Allen was charged with multiple offenses, including attempted murder, assault with a firearm, corporal injury to a cohabitant, and mayhem. At trial, the prosecution sought to introduce evidence that Allen had committed previous acts of domestic violence against Kentra and his ex-wife. Allen objected to the evidence on the ground that it was unduly prejudicial in violation of his due-process rights and amounted to inadmissible character evidence. Allen moved in limine to exclude the evidence. The trial court ruled that the evidence involving Kentra was admissible. The trial court instructed the jury that they could use the evidence to conclude that Allen was predisposed to commit domestic violence, but that Allen could not be convicted solely because of the previous incidents. The jury found Allen guilty of assault with a firearm, corporal injury to a cohabitant, and mayhem. The court declared a mistrial on the attempted-murder charge because the jury did not reach a decision. After a retrial, Allen was convicted of attempted voluntary manslaughter. Allen appealed the conviction. The appellate court affirmed the trial court’s conviction. Allen filed a writ of habeas corpus in federal district court on the ground that the trial court had violated his due-process rights by admitting the prior acts of domestic violence into evidence. Allen argued that the evidence was improper because the crimes of which he was accused did not require the prosecution to prove that domestic violence had occurred. The court considered the case.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Brennan, J.)
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