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United States v. Yazzie

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
976 F.2d 1252 (9th Cir. 1992)


Facts

Johnny Yazzie (defendant) had sexual intercourse with a female victim who was 15-and-a-half years old at the time. Yazzie was charged with the statutory rape of a minor, to which reasonable mistake was a defense. Yazzie defended himself on the ground that he reasonably believed the victim was 16 years old on the night in question. Yazzie sought to introduce the testimony of several witnesses regarding the victim’s age. Specifically, Yazzie sought to introduce testimony that the witnesses believed the victim was 16 years old on the night in question. The district court permitted the witnesses to testify to the victim’s appearance on that night, including that she was smoking cigarettes, was driving, was wearing makeup, and was fully developed physically. However, the district court did not permit the witnesses to testify to their opinion about the victim’s age. Yazzie was convicted, and he appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Reinhardt, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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