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United States v. Mound - 149 F.3d 799 (8th Cir. 1998)

Rule:

Fed. R. Evid. 413 does not violate the Due Process Clause. Sex-offense defendants are not a suspect class, and promoting the effective prosecution of sex offenses is a legitimate end.

Facts:

Alvin Ralph Mound was convicted of two counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a minor, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2241(c)2246(2), two counts of aggravated sexual abuse, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2241(c)2246(2), two counts of assault resulting in serious bodily injury, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 113(a)(6), and one count of assault with a dangerous weapon, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 113(a)(3). On appeal, he challenges the admission at trial of a prior conviction of child sexual abuse under Federal Rule of Evidence 413 (Evidence of Similar Crimes in Sexual Assault Cases). 

Issue:

Does Fed. R. Evid. 413 violate the Due Process Clause?

Answer:

No.

Conclusion:

The court held that, subject to the protections of Fed. R. Evid. 403Fed. R. Evid. 413 did not violate the Due Process Clause. The court further held that Fed. R. Evid. 413 did not violate appellant's equal protection rights because the rule did not burden a fundamental right, sex-offense defendants were not a suspect class, and promoting the effective prosecution of sex offenses was a legitimate end. Regarding the district court's application of Fed. R. Evid. 413 and Fed. R. Evid. 403, the court held that the district court properly balanced the probative value of appellant's prior sexual abuse conviction against the risk of unfair prejudice and that the district court's decision to admit appellant's prior sexual abuse conviction was not an abuse of discretion. In addition, the court found that the district court's cautionary instruction to the jury guarded against any unfair prejudice.

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