Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Under Division Three precedent, the 1101 evidence was improperly admitted to show motive

That is one point of view that I suspect is not shared by either of the Spectors.

Unitil that day, the appeal and wrongful death case march on:

Excerpt from Spector Reply brief: Under Division Three precedent, the 1101 evidence was improperly admitted to show motive:

“Thus, respondent cites “two types of motive evidence in the area of uncharged
misconduct” — where the uncharged acts cause the charged crime, and where the
uncharged acts arise from the same cause as the charged crime. (RB, at 75.) If that
second type is to be admitted, however, it can only be with recognition of a critical
distinction between the two types of motive evidence in terms of admissibility, as
Division Four recognized in Scheer and Division Seven recognized in Walker. When
Walker upheld the admission of uncharged acts of the second type, that is, those evincing
the same cause as the charged crime, it did so only on the basis of their being contributing
factors under a “common plan or design” theory, finding “sufficiently distinctive”
common features to support an inference that the defendant committed both the
uncharged and charged acts. (139 Cal.App.4th at pp. 804-805.) In other words, when
other offense evidence is being proffered as an intermediate fact to prove an ultimate fact
with a strict standard for admissibility, such as identity or common plan or scheme, the
“motive” evidence must meet that high standard.

That was the holding of this Division in Hassoldt v. Patrick Media Group, Inc.
(2000) 84 Cal. App.4th 153, where the Court held that other offense evidence is
admissible as proof of motive only if the identity of the actor is not in dispute and that, if
that identity is in dispute, the other-offense evidence is admissible only if it meets the
most stringent test for admissibility under an identity theory (a test which the trial court
found that the prosecution could not meet as to Spector). Respondent first attempts to
evade application of this principle by asserting that the instant case “was not one where
the identity of the murderer was unknown; if there was a murderer, it was appellant.”
(RB, at 80.) That attempt is utterly specious. The identity of the person who pulled the
trigger was the material factual dispute in this case, as respondent acknowledges in its
brief. (RB, at 87; see also RB, at 97: “Either appellant shoved the gun in Clarkson’s
mouth, or she did.”) The dispositive admissibility point is “that the identity of the actor is
in dispute” (Hassoldt, supra, 84 Cal.App.4th at p. 166 [emphasis added].)”