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State v. Colbath
Supreme Court of New Hampshire
130 N.H. 316, 540 A.2d 1212 (1988)
A woman directed sexually provocative attention toward several male bar patrons, including Richard Colbath (defendant). The woman and Colbath left the bar and had sex in her trailer, where they were discovered by the woman's jealous roommate. The roommate violently attacked and injured the woman, and they fought. At the conclusion of the fight, the woman showed her injuries to the police and reported that Colbath had raped her. The police arrested Colbath, and the State of New Hampshire (plaintiff) prosecuted him for aggravated felony sexual assault. At trial, the judge allowed witnesses to testify about the woman's behavior in the bar and her fight with the roommate. However, the judge instructed the jury to consider this testimony only as background information, and not as bearing on whether the woman consented to having sex with Colbath. Colbath objected. The judge overruled the objection, without giving Colbath a chance to argue for the testimony's admissibility on the consent issue. The jury convicted Colbath and he appealed to the Supreme Court of New Hampshire.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Souter, J.)
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