Golden Gate University Law Review


Crystal Dykman


In LaJoie v. Thompson, the Ninth Circuit held that the trial court's preclusion of evidence regarding the victim's prior sexual abuse by others as a sanction for LaJoie's failure to comply with the 15-day notice requirement in Oregon's rape shield law violated LaJoie's Sixth Amendment rights. The Ninth Circuit further held that the preclusion of this evidence regarding the prior sexual abuse of the victim warranted habeas relief. In Part II, this Note discusses LaJoie's facts and procedural history. Part III outlines the history of the Habeas Corpus statutes and discusses the Oregon and Federal rape shield statutes, with an emphasis on how these types of statutes affect a criminal defendant's Sixth Amendment confrontation and compulsory process and Fourteenth Amendment Due Process rights. Part IV analyzes the Ninth Circuit's reasoning. in LaJoie. Part V critiques the Ninth Circuit's reasoning in light of the majority's determination that the probative value of the excluded evidence substantially outweighed its potential prejudicial effect. Part VI concludes that the Ninth Circuit improperly held that excluding the evidence created a constitutional error because the prejudicial effect of the evidence substantially outweighed its low probative value. Accordingly, the Ninth Circuit improperly granted LaJoie's writ of habeas corpus because the trial court did not commit constitutional error to warrant habeas relief.