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State v. Foxhoven
Washington Supreme Court
163 P.3d 786 (2007)
Lawrence Foxhoven and Anthony Sanderson (defendants) were charged with using acid to etch graffiti on business windows. The graffiti contained tags, i.e., marks that graffiti artists used to sign or identify their work. One tag was SERIES, and it was associated with Foxhoven. Another tag, HYMN, was associated with Sanderson. At trial, evidence was admitted that both individuals had a criminal history of using their respective tags. Photographs that showed Foxhoven and Sanderson painting their respective tags on prior occasions were also admitted. The previous tags used different fonts and media and were not completely identical to the current tags. However, the words SERIES and HYMN were the same in the prior and current tags. In addition, evidence was presented that graffiti artists will not use someone else’s tag. Foxhoven and Sanderson were convicted of malicious mischief and appealed, arguing that their criminal history and the photographs of the prior tags should have been excluded as inadmissible character evidence. The appellate court affirmed the convictions. Foxhoven and Sanderson appealed to the Washington Supreme Court.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Alexander, C.J.)
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