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Whorton v. Bockting

Supreme Court of the United States

November 1, 2006, Argued ; February 28, 2007, Decided

No. 05-595

Opinion

 [*409]   [**1177] Justice Alito delivered the opinion of the Court.

This case presents the question whether, under the rules set out in Teague v. Lane, 489 U.S. 288, 109 S. Ct. 1060, 103 L. Ed. 2d 334 (1989), our decision in Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36, 124 S. Ct. 1354, 158 L. Ed. 2d 177 (2004), is retroactive to cases already final on direct review. We hold that it is not.

Respondent Marvin Bockting lived in Las Vegas, Nevada, with his wife, Laura Bockting, their 3-year-old daughter Honesty, and Laura's 6-year-old daughter from a previous relationship, Autumn. One night, while respondent was at work, Autumn awoke from a dream crying, but she refused to tell her mother what  [***7] was wrong, explaining: "'[D]addy said you would make him leave and that he would beat my butt if I told you.'" App. 119. After her mother reassured her, Autumn said that respondent had frequently forced her  [*410]  to engage in numerous and varied sexual acts with him. Ibid.

The next day, Laura Bockting confronted respondent and asked him to leave the house. He did so but denied any wrongdoing. Two days later, Laura called [****8]  a rape crisis hotline and brought Autumn to the hospital for an examination.  At the hospital, Detective Charles Zinovitch from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Sexual Assault Unit attempted to interview Autumn but found her too distressed to discuss the assaults. Detective Zinovitch then ordered a rape examination, which revealed strong physical evidence of sexual assaults. See Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law and Order in Nevada v. Bockting, Case No. C-83110 (D. Nev., Sept. 5, 1994), App. 47, 119.

Two days later, Detective Zinovitch interviewed Autumn in the presence of her mother, and at that time, Autumn provided a detailed description of acts of sexual assault carried out by respondent; Autumn also demonstrated those acts using anatomically correct dolls. Id., at 47-48 ; 119. Respondent was then arrested, and a state grand jury indicted him on four counts of sexual assault on a minor under 14 years of age.

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549 U.S. 406 *; 127 S. Ct. 1173 **; 167 L. Ed. 2d 1 ***; 2007 U.S. LEXIS 2826 ****; 75 U.S.L.W. 4121; 72 Fed. R. Evid. Serv. (Callaghan) 635; 44 A.L.R. Fed. 2d 777; 20 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 99

GLEN WHORTON, DIRECTOR, NEVADA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, Petitioner v. MARVIN HOWARD BOCKTING

Subsequent History: On remand at Bockting v. Bayer, 2007 U.S. App. LEXIS 22827 (9th Cir. Nev., Sept. 27, 2007)

Prior History: ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT.

Bockting v. Bayer, 408 F.3d 1127, 2005 U.S. App. LEXIS 9982 (9th Cir. Nev., 2005)Bockting v. Bayer, 399 F.3d 1010, 2005 U.S. App. LEXIS 3012 (9th Cir. Nev., 2005)

Disposition: Reversed and remanded.

CORE TERMS

new rule, reliability, retroactivity, announced, accuracy, cases, out-of-court, watershed, bedrock, sexual assault, sexual, collateral, assaults, criminal procedure, plurality opinion, cross-examination, trustworthiness, unavailable, quotation, hearsay, marks

Criminal Law & Procedure, Retroactivity of Decisions, Retroactive Treatment, Teague Exceptions, Nonretroactive Treatment, Teague Rule