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Mon June 6, 2011
Supreme Court says stories can be used as evidence
A work of fiction written by a person charged with a crime can be used against the defendant in court according to a new decision from the Michigan Supreme Court.
The question before the state’s highest court was whether a story a defendant had written depicting graphic scenes of incest between siblings and their father could be used against him as evidence of his intent.
The defendant was charged with molesting his granddaughter. The Court of Appeals said that the graphic story can be used against the defendant, and the Supreme Court essentially agreed with that decision by throwing the case out.
Justice Stephen Markman wrote a concurring statement. During a hearing he wondered aloud if Agatha Christie’s plays should be used against her if she had been accused of murder.
The dissenting justices say the prosecution presented a weak case and a weak argument in favor of allowing the story to be used against the defendant.
The justice who wrote the majority statement says the story, in conjunction with other evidence and testimony, did show intent to harm children and commit an act of incest.
But in the end he said the prosecution laid out enough evidence to demonstrate the defendant’s intent and predisposition to molest his granddaughter, and the story was just one piece of evidence.