Evidence: Prior Bad Acts of Sexual Misconduct Admissible

Petitioner had been convicted of first degree criminal sexual misconduct for sexually assaulting his fifteen year old daughter. He filed an application for a writ of habeas corpus, claiming that his trial counsel had been ineffective because he had failed to object to evidence of Petitioner's prior sexual advances toward his daughter. The Court held that trial counsel's failure to object to evidence of prior sexual advances by Petitioner against his daughter did not constitute ineffective assistance of counsel because it would have been futile to raise the objection. The Court held that "Michigan case law has long recognized that, in cases where sexual misconduct by one family member upon another is charged, other acts testimony is highly probative because such misconduct is unlikely to occur between family members as a single, isolated event. Forcing the victim to testify about the charged act apart from its context may unfairly make the victim's testimony appear incredible."

Kujenga Ashe v. Kurt Jones, Civ. No. 96-CV-75173-DT, E.D. Mich., 01/30/98, Hood, J. This article was prepared by Mark A. Goldsmith, a partner in our Litigation Department, was appeared in the July, 1998 edition of the Michigan Bar Journal.