State v. Johnson (1994)

In State v. Johnson, 184 Wis. 2d 324, 516 N.W.2d 463 (Ct. App. 1994), evidence that within days of Johnson's arrest the victim attempted to misappropriate Johnson's personal property was held admissible to bolster the theory of the defense that the victim falsely accused Johnson to gain access to his property. See id. at 338. The victim's attempt to gain Johnson's property was found to be directly linked to the criminal events charged against Johnson. See id. at 339. In that case, the State accused Johnson of battery and reckless endangerment of his former live-in girlfriend. Johnson tried to offer evidence to show that the former girlfriend fabricated the incident in order to misappropriate Johnson's possessions. Although the Court addressed the issue under the guise of an "other acts" analysis, we questioned whether evidence of the former girlfriend's acts of attempted misappropriation were properly considered other acts evidence because the evidence involved the same actors as the incident and went directly to Johnson's defense. See Johnson, 184 Wis. 2d at 338-39. And Judge Anderson, concurring, was even more emphatic. He wrote that the evidence was not "other acts" evidence and that a "frame-by-frame" view of evidence was an inappropriate way to determine whether an "other acts" analysis is an order. See id. at 350.