Gagne v. Booker

680 F.3d 493 (2012)

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Gagne v. Booker

United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
680 F.3d 493 (2012)

  • Written by Rose VanHofwegen, JD
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Facts

A jury convicted Lewis Gagne and Donald Swathwood (defendants) of raping Gagne’s former girlfriend, P.C., based on an incident of brutal three-way sex. The trial court allowed evidence that Gagne and P.C. had similar sex during their relationship, including group sex with Swathwood, and that P.C. initially consented to sex with Gagne on the night in question. However, the judge did not allow evidence that Gagne and P.C. previously had group sex with a third man, or that P.C. had offered to have sex with Gagne and his father. The court found those two incidents not admissible under the Michigan rape shield statute, which allows “evidence of the victim’s past sexual conduct with the actor,” because they involved participants other than Gagne and Swathwood. After appeals in Michigan state courts failed, Gagne filed a habeas corpus petition in federal court asserting violation of his constitutional rights to a fair trial, to confront witnesses, and to present a complete defense. Gagne argued that the evidence that P.C. previously consented to group sex with him was clearly relevant to whether she consented to it on the night charged. The district court granted the petition, and the Sixth Circuit affirmed, but granted the State’s request for rehearing.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Batchelder, C.J.)

Concurrence (Clay, J.)

Concurrence (Moore, J.)

Dissent (Kethledge, J.)

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