State v. Mbaya, ___ N.C. App. ___, 791 S.E.2d 266 (Sept. 20, 2016)

(1) In this sexual assault case, the trial court did not err by excluding the defendant’s evidence that the victim had previously been sexually active that her parents punished her for this activity. The defendant did not argue that the victim’s past sexual activity was admissible under one of the four exceptions to the Rape Shield statute. Rather, he argued that her past sexual activity and parental punishment for it was relevant to show that she had a motive to fabricate accusations against him. Here, the evidence showed that the victim had not engaged in sexual activity for several months prior to the incident at issue. The victim’s parents knew that she had been sexually active for several years prior to the incident and the victim testified that she was not worried about being punished for engaging in sexual conduct. No evidence tied her past sexual activity or parental punishment to the incident in question. Additionally, unlike other cases where evidence of sexual activity was deemed admissible, this case did not turn primarily on the victim’s testimony. Here, there was other “compelling physical evidence submitted by the State” including, among other things, DNA evidence and GPS records. (2) The trial court did not violate the defendant’s constitutional right to present a defense by excluding irrelevant evidence.

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