State v. Gibson

In State v. Gibson, 75 Conn. App. 103, 815 A.2d 172, cert. granted on other grounds, 263 Conn. 906, 819 A.2d 840 (2003), the court acknowledged that it is more difficult to determine whether the admission of prior uncharged misconduct was an abuse of discretion when balancing the probative value with the prejudicial effect than to determine whether it was relevant and material. State v. Gibson, supra, 75 Conn. App. 111. "Prejudicial evidence is evidence that tends to have some adverse effect upon a defendant beyond tending to prove the fact or issue that justified its admission into evidence . . . but it is inadmissible only if it creates undue prejudice so that it threatens an injustice were it to be admitted. . . . The test for determining whether evidence is unduly prejudicial is not whether it is damaging to the defendant but whether it will improperly arouse the emotions of the jury. . . . The problem is thus one of balancing the actual relevancy of the other crimes evidence in light of the issues and the other evidence available to the prosecution against the degree to which the jury will probably be roused by the evidence. . . . "In sexual assault cases, because of the nature of the evidence and its potential impact on the jury, the use of prior sexual misconduct evidence is usually prejudicial to the defendant, as well as probative of whether the defendant committed the charged crime. The balancing of probity against prejudice, therefore, to determine which trumps the other, in crimes involving sexual assaults and prior sexual misconduct, is a difficult process." Id., 111-12.