State v. Smith
Supreme Court of Louisiana
743 So.2d 199 (La. 1999)
Eual Howard Smith, Jr. (defendant) was accused by his wife’s 12-year-old granddaughter of touching her inappropriately. At trial, Smith sought to introduce evidence that the victim had made accusations of molestation against another person which she later recanted. The trial court held a sidebar hearing to determine if the victim had made such other accusations and if she had recanted them. After the hearing, the trial court found that the victim had not made prior false accusations of molestation, and denied Smith the opportunity to introduce evidence of prior false accusations. Smith was convicted of attempted indecent behavior with a juvenile and sentenced to three years’ imprisonment at hard labor. Smith’s sentence was then suspended and Smith was placed on five-years probation after three months in jail. Smith appealed. The court of appeals affirmed the conviction, finding there was no abuse of discretion in the trial court’s refusal to permit the evidence of prior false accusations. The supreme court granted certiorari on the question of the exclusion of the evidence of the prior false accusations.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Traylor, J.)
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