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Evidence

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//June 24, 2024//

Evidence

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//June 24, 2024//

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WI Court of Appeals – District III

Case Name: State of Wisconsin v. Pablo Fuerte Perez

Case No.: 2023AP001028-CR

Officials: Stark, P.J., Hruz and Gill, JJ.

Focus: Evidence

Pablo Fuerte Perez was charged with repeated sexual assault of a child and child enticement. The circuit court had excluded a video that the accuser allegedly recorded of Perez sexually assaulting her, citing irrelevance and the potential for the video to suggest that Mary had engaged in sexual activity with other men, which would be inadmissible under the rape shield statute.

The Court of Appeals disagreed with the circuit court’s conclusions, ruling that the video was relevant as it constituted direct evidence of the crime charged. They stated that the video’s relevance was not diminished by the inability to identify the man in the video solely from the footage, especially since Mary asserted that the man was Perez. Additionally, the court found that the rape shield statute did not apply to this video because it was evidence of the crime itself, not of Mary’s prior sexual conduct.

The appellate court also rejected the argument that the video’s probative value was outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice, noting that its probative value was high as it directly related to the crime. The court concluded that the minimal risk of unfair prejudice did not justify excluding the video.

The decision was reversed, and the case was remanded for further proceedings, allowing the video to be admitted as evidence.

Reversed in part and remanded.

Decided 06/18/24

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