No. 27459 - State of West Virginia v. Richard Lee Graham
Starcher, J., concurring:
I concur because the evidence is strong that this defendant has serious physical and psychological problems and needs care and intensive treatment -- both to protect society, and to protect the defendant. The circuit judge's commendable creative sentence is a serious and appropriate step in this direction, and I simply would not tamper with that sentence.
However, in considering the trial that led to the defendant's appropriate sentence, I write separately to note my continuing dismay at the erosion of the integrity of our criminal processes, an erosion that the majority blindly approves.
In a criminal trial, evidence of prior bad acts is usually so unfairly prejudicial that we don't let it go before the jury, unless there's a special reason for its admission under W.Va. Rule of Evidence 404(b) -- for example, to show plan or motive, etc. As I stated in my dissent in State v. McIntosh, ___ W.Va. ___, ___ S.E.2d ___, No. 26849, 2000 WL 966149, July 14, 2000:
Where a defendant admits touching a child on their sexual areas, but denies that the touching was for a sexual purpose, other instances of clearly non-accidental sexual touching might be admissible under 404(b) -- to show the defendant's actual plan or motive. That appears to be the case in the Yager case cited by the majority, where the court held that such evidence was admissible to establish that it was no accident that [the defendant] touched the victim's penis. But in the instant case, the defendant denied all touching, so his motive was not a separate issue. Under these circumstances other crimes evidence should not be admissible under 404(b).