State v. Loebach

310 N.W.2d 58 (1981)

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State v. Loebach

Minnesota Supreme Court
310 N.W.2d 58 (1981)

  • Written by Arlyn Katen, JD

Facts

A jury convicted Robert Wayne Loebach (defendant) of third-degree murder for his three-month-old son’s death in 1978. An autopsy revealed that the infant’s cause of death was extensive brain hemorrhaging due to injuries that occurred within 24 hours of death and at least three weeks before death. Loebach repeatedly denied abusing his son and provided many different reasons for the infant’s many injuries to investigating law enforcement and to the jury. The prosecution (plaintiff) presented strong trial evidence that the infant died at a time that only Loebach was watching the infant. The prosecution also presented expert testimony from Dr. Robert ten Bensel, a child-abuse expert, who listed common personality traits shared by many parents who battered their children, such as low empathy and short temper. Ten Bensel also testified that many battering parents were abused as children. The prosecution also presented two character witnesses who had known Loebach as a child and who suggested that Loebach had some characteristics of battering parents that ten Bensel had described. Loebach did not present any character evidence. Loebach appealed from his conviction, arguing in relevant part that the trial court had erred by admitting evidence that Loebach fit the profile of a battering parent.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Yetka, J.)

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