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United States v. Van Metre

United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
150 F.3d 339 (4th Cir. 1998)


Facts

James Howard Van Metre (defendant) took Holly Ann Blake to a wooded area and committed sexual acts on her before ultimately strangling her to death. Van Metre was charged with kidnapping Blake with the intent to sexually assault her under a federal kidnapping statute. In order to help prove Van Metre’s intent, the prosecution sought to introduce testimony of Mary Yohe regarding Van Metre’s conviction for kidnapping and sexually assaulting Yohe 11 days before the incident with Blake. Van Metre sought to exclude any evidence relating to Yohe under Rules 403 and 404(b) of the Federal Rules of Evidence. The district court ruled that the evidence was admissible for the limited purpose of showing Van Metre’s intent. Van Metre appealed on the grounds that the evidence was introduced to damage his character and that it was unfairly prejudicial.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Williams, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
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  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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