WA Legal Roundup: Division II
Russell was changed with first degree child rape and domestic abuse regarding alleged abuse that occurred in Bremerton, Washington. The abuse of the child occurred over several years and in different locations around the country, as the family moved often. Evidence of Russell’s abuse in several locations throughout the US were admitted under ER 404(b). Russell was convicted and appeals, arguing that the trial court abused its discretion by admitting the ER 404(b) evidence without a limiting instruction.
The appeals court interprets ER rule 404(b). The court held that while it may be appropriate to admit the evidence under the exception of showing a lustful disposition, certain requirements must be met prior to admission. Here, the court held that even when the evidence is permitted, a limiting instruction must be given. The court found that because no limiting instruction was given, the trial court abused its discretion. Russell’s conviction was reversed and remanded for a new trial.