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Particular Examples of Misconduct, § 904.04(2) – “Victim’s State of Mind”

State v. John P. Hunt, 2003 WI 81, reversing unpublished order of court of appeals
For Hunt: Rex R. Anderegg


¶59. The other-acts evidence was permissible to show the victims’ state of mind, to corroborate information provided to the police, and to establish the credibility of victims and witnesses in light of their recantations. Such purposes have been held to be permissible purposes in Wisconsin. See State v. C.V.C., 153 Wis. 2d 145, 450 N.W.2d 463 (Ct. App. 1989) (holding that the other-acts evidence that husband had been charged with false imprisonment and sexual assault of his wife and had threatened his wife’s life some two years earlier was properly admitted for limited purpose of showing the wife’s state of mind on issue of whether she consented to acts of sexual intercourse); Kluck v. State, 223 Wis. 381, 389, 269 N.W. 683 (1936) (holding that, where other criminal acts are so connected with the offense charged that their commission directly tends to prove some element of the latter, such as guilty knowledge, or some specific intent, evidence of such other acts is admissible to explain or to corroborate the evidence showing the act charged); State v. Schaller, 199 Wis. 2d 23, 43, 544 N.W.2d 247 (Ct. App. 1995) (holding that evidence of the defendant’s abuse of his child in a public park as testified to by third-party witnesses was admissible to illustrate extent to which his wife would go to extricate her husband, the defendant, from potential criminal prosecution and to assist jury in evaluating whether the wife was being truthful when she later recanted sexual assault charges against husband). While only mentioned in the cautionary instructions given, preparation or plan was also a permissible purpose for admission of other-acts evidence.


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