Commonwealth v. Lowmiller

The Pennsylvania Superior Court gave a rare rebuke of prior bad acts evidence in a sexual assault case. The 29-year-old defendant was charged with friending a 14-year-old girl on Facebook and then luring her to a secluded area where he sexually assaulted her. He had a previous conviction for engaging in a long-term relationship with a minor when he was 19. The trial court conceded that the crimes were “actually quite distinct”. But the court nonetheless permitted the Commonwealth to use the evidence if the defendant testified in his own defense. A jury convicted him. The Superior Court held that the evidence was inadmissible because the old case was not remarkably similar to the facts of the new case.

LOWMILLER