In Dixon v. State, the Georgia Court of Appeals affirmed the defendant’s child molestation conviction and held that the trial court did not err in admitting evidence of other acts committed by the defendant.
The Court also held that despite the alleged victim’s credibility issues, the evidence did not warrant the granting of a new trial.
The defendant was accused of molesting his girlfriend’s nine-year-old daughter. The girl, however, admitted at trial that she had a reputation for lying and her grandmother even testified as to her character for untruthfulness.
At trial, the State introduced evidence of a prior allegation of child molestation in which the defendant was accused of molesting his then-wife’s son, who was around six to eleven years old at the time they were together.
On appeal, the defendant argued that the testimony of the prior allegation should not have been admitted since it was not corroborated. The Court of Appeals held that corroboration was not required and that a single witness’ testimony was sufficient. The Court found that a jury could have concluded by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant had committed the prior offense.
The defendant asserted that the trial court erred in failing to rule that the probative value of this testimony was substantially outweighed by its danger of unfair prejudice.
The Court held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting the testimony of the prior molestation allegation, citing (1) the State’s need for the evidence as a result of the alleged victim’s credibility issues, (2) the lack of any physical evidence in the case, and (3) that despite the differences in gender, the facts in both allegations were similar as both accusers were the children of the defendant’s wife or girlfriend.
Lastly, the defendant argued that since neither of the alleged victims were credible, the trial court erred in declining to grant a new trial on the basis that the verdict was against the weight of the evidence. The Court, however, held that the trial court properly exercised its discretion in denying the motion for new trial.
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