from the District Court of the First Judicial District, State
of Idaho, Kootenai County. Hon. Scott Wayman, District Judge.
of conviction for battery with intent to commit a serious
D. Fredericksen, State Appellate Public Defender; Lara E.
Anderson, Deputy Appellate Public Defender, Boise, for
appellant. Lara E. Anderson argued.
Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General; Mark W. Olson, Deputy
Attorney General, Boise, for respondent. Mark W. Olson
Michael Chambers appeals from his judgment of conviction for
battery with intent to commit a serious felony. Chambers
argues that the district court erred by excluding evidence
under I.R.E. 412. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
State charged Chambers with rape after the victim reported to
police that Chambers had forcible sexual intercourse with
her. Chambers filed a motion pursuant to I.R.E. 412,
requesting permission to introduce evidence that the victim
made a "false allegation of rape" against a
different individual approximately six months after the
alleged rape by Chambers. The State objected to the admission
of such evidence. The district court held that the evidence
was inadmissible under I.R.E. 412 and under I.R.E. 403.
Chambers subsequently entered an
Alfordplea to an amended charge of battery with
the intent to commit a serious felony, reserving his right to
appeal the district court's ruling on his I.R.E. 412
motion. Chambers appeals.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
interpretation of a court rule is subject to de novo review.
See State v. Montgomery, 163 Idaho 40, 42-43, 408
P.3d 38, 40-41 (2017). A trial court's determination that
evidence is relevant is also reviewed de novo, but a trial
court's determination under I.R.E. 403 is reviewed for an
abuse of discretion. State v. Kopsa, 126 Idaho 512,
520-521, 887 P.2d 57, 65-66 (Ct. App. 1994). When a trial
court's discretionary decision is reviewed on appeal, the
appellate court conducts a multi-tiered inquiry to determine
whether the lower court: (1) correctly perceived the issue as
one of discretion; (2) acted within the boundaries of such
discretion; (3) acted consistently with any legal standards
applicable to the specific choices before it; and (4) reached
its decision by an exercise of reason. State v.
Herrera, 164 Idaho 261, 270, 429 P.3d 149, 158 (2018).
contends the district court abused its discretion by
"misapplying [I.R.E.] 412, and the Idaho Rules of
Evidence as a whole, to the proffered false rape allegation
evidence" when it concluded that I.R.E. 412 required the
false allegation to precede the act underlying the offense
charged in this case. Chambers also contends that the district
court abused its discretion in excluding the evidence under
I.R.E. 403 and in "failing to consider the effect the
exclusion of the evidence would have" on his
constitutional right to present a defense. The State responds
that the district court correctly interpreted I.R.E.
412's temporal requirement and that, even if the district
court's interpretation of I.R.E. 412 was incorrect, the
proffered evidence was properly excluded under I.R.E. 403.
The State also contends that Chambers' constitutional
claim is not preserved. We hold that although the district
court erred in its interpretation of I.R.E. 412, it did not
err in excluding the evidence Chambers sought to admit
pursuant to that rule.
Admissibility Under Idaho Rule of Evidence 412
of a court rule must begin with the plain, ordinary meaning
of the language used in the rule. However, interpretation of
the rule's language may be tempered by the purpose of the
rule. Montgomery, 163 Idaho at 44, 408 P.3d at 42.
This Court will not interpret a rule in a way that would
produce an absurd result. Id. Instead, the Idaho
Rules of Evidence are to be construed in a manner consistent
with administering every proceeding fairly, eliminating
unjustifiable expense and delay, promoting the development of
evidence law, ascertaining the truth, and securing a just
determination. I.R.E. 102; see Montgomery, 163 Idaho
at 44, 408 P.3d at 42.
Rule of Evidence 412 governs the admissibility of evidence
related to the "past sexual behavior" of a victim
in cases where the defendant is charged with a sex crime. The
2017 version of I.R.E. 412 controls the issue in this
case. The relevant part of the rule at the time
provided that (notwithstanding any other provision of law) in
a criminal case in which a person is accused of a sex crime,
evidence of a victim's past sexual behavior, other than
reputation or opinion evidence, is not admissible. I.R.E.
412(b). The rationale underlying the prohibition on such
evidence has been explained as protecting rape victims
against unwarranted invasions of privacy and harassment
regarding their sexual conduct. State v. Ozuna, 155
Idaho 697, 702, 316 P.3d 109, 114 (Ct. App. 2013); see
Michigan v. Lucas, 500 U.S. 145, 149-50 (1991);
Delaware v. VanArsdall, 475 U.S. 673, 679 (1986).
The rule, however, provided four exceptions to this general
limitation. I.R.E. 412(b)(2). These exceptions included:
(A) past sexual behavior with persons other than the accused,
offered by the accused upon the issue of whether the accused
was or was not, with respect to the alleged victim, the
source of semen or injury; or
(B) past sexual behavior with the accused and is offered by
the accused upon the issue of whether the alleged victim
consented to the sexual behavior with respect to which the
sex crime is alleged; or
(C) false allegations of sex crimes made at an earlier
(D) sexual behavior with parties other than the accused which
occurred at the time of the event giving rise to the sex
exceptions reflect a determination that, despite the general
prohibition against evidence of past sexual behavior, certain
evidence relating to sexual behavior may be appropriate for
the fact-finder to consider in ascertaining the truth and
securing a just determination in a case involving an alleged
sex crime. See I.R.E. 102. The exception set forth
in I.R.E. 412(b)(1)(C) was added in 1987 along with exception
(D). The minutes of the Evidence Rules Committee meeting
associated with the amendment indicate that the exceptions
were based on the Model Rule. The "Model Rule"
referenced in the committee minutes presumably refers to the
Uniform Rules of Evidence, which were originally produced by
the Uniform Law Commission in 1974. Uniform Rule 412, on which
the amendment appears to be based, was added in 1986 (the
year before I.R.E. 412 was amended). Uniform Rule 412 (1986)
was titled "Sexual Behavior" and reads:
(a) When inadmissible. In a criminal case in which a person
is accused of a sexual offense against another person, the
following is not admissible:
(1) Reputation or opinion. Evidence of reputation or opinion
regarding other sexual behavior of a victim of the ...