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Name: People v. Story
Case #: S161044
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 04/09/2009

Prior sex offenses were admissible under section 1108 during a trial for first degree felony murder where the underlying felony was rape. When a defendant is accused of a “sexual offense,” Evidence Code section 1108 allows admission of evidence of prior sex offenses. A “sex offense” for this purpose is defined as any conduct proscribed by specified Penal Code sections, including the crime of rape. In this case, the California Supreme Court granted review to determine whether a defendant tried for first degree felony murder, where the underlying felony was rape, is “accused of a sexual offense” within the meaning of section 1108. The Court held that section 1108 applies when the prosecution accuses the defendant of first degree felony murder with rape or another specified sex offense. Here, the evidence was properly admitted. The evidence had significant probative value, and the trial court took steps to minimize any undue prejudice. Further, the Court held that there was sufficient evidence that appellant murdered the victim while raping her.