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State v. Charles Glenn Fordyce

August 8, 2011

STATE OF IDAHO, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
CHARLES GLENN FORDYCE,
DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District, State of Idaho, Ada County. Hon. Michael E. Wetherell, District Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Lansing, Judge

2011 Opinion No. 47

Stephen W. Kenyon, Clerk

Judgment of conviction for felony domestic violence, affirmed.

Charles Glenn Fordyce was found guilty of felony domestic violence and of an enhancement for being a persistent violator of the law. He contends that the district court erred at trial by admitting evidence that the victim was pregnant at the time of the attack and by admitting expert testimony concerning the behavior of domestic violence victims.

I.

BACKGROUND

Fordyce was charged with felony domestic violence, I.C. §§ 18-918(2)(a), 18-903, for beating his live-in girlfriend, inflicting traumatic injuries. He pleaded not guilty and the case proceeded to trial. Photographs of the victim's face that were placed in evidence showed significant swelling, abrasions, and cuts. The victim told police and medical personnel at the hospital that Fordyce had beaten her because he was angry at the possibility that she might be pregnant and that he had kicked her in the abdomen. Medical personnel performed a test that showed the presence of a hormone indicating pregnancy. Over Fordyce's objection, evidence of this test result was admitted at trial.

In her trial testimony, the victim recanted and contradicted the statements she had made to police and medical personnel that blamed Fordyce for her injuries. She testified that Fordyce had not beaten her but instead that she had incurred her injuries falling into a dry irrigation ditch and that previous injuries suffered to her face swelled when she drank heavily. The victim said that blood found on the bed sheets in her residence was not hers but instead was Fordyce's blood deposited there after she bit him. Generally, the victim testified that she was the aggressor in a physical altercation between the two and that she could not recall making statements to the police and medical providers implicating Fordyce, or claimed that the statements were inadvertently made in a drunken state of confusion.

The victim's recantation was known to the prosecutor before trial, for she had similarly recanted at Fordyce's preliminary hearing. At trial, the State called an expert witness to explain why and in what circumstances a domestic violence victim will sometimes recant and minimize a defendant's criminal conduct. During this testimony, defense counsel made two relevance objections, which the district court overruled.

The jury returned a verdict of guilty. On appeal, Fordyce posits error in the referenced evidentiary rulings.

II.

ANALYSIS

A. Idaho Rule of ...


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