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150286 - People v Robin Scott Duenaz

The People of the State of Michigan,
Hilary B. Georgia
(Appeal from Ct of Appeals)
(St. Clair – Adair, J.)
Robin Scott Duenaz,
Christine A. Pagac


Defendant Robin Duenez was convicted by a jury of three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct. Duenez raised several issues on appeal, including a claim that the trial court abused its discretion by ruling that evidence regarding the victim’s prior sexual abuse by her step-father was inadmissible at trial.  In a published opinion, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s ruling, holding that the evidence did not fit within either of the exceptions provided by the rape-shield statute, MCL 750.520j(1), and was not relevant.  The Supreme Court has asked the parties to address:  (1) whether evidence of a child’s prior sexual abuse is “sexual conduct” barred by the rape-shield statute, MCL 750.520j; (2) if so, whether evidence of prior sexual abuse was nevertheless admissible in this instance to preserve the defendant’s right of confrontation and to present a defense; and (3) whether any error in excluding evidence of prior sexual abuse in this case was harmless.