Batey v. Haas

Batey’s minor nephew Matthew was admitted to a mental health facility. Matthew’s older brother Jason told his parents that Batey had been sexually abusing Matthew and Jason for years. Matthew confirmed the abuse. At Batey’s trial on two counts of criminal sexual conduct, Matthew and Jason testified that Batey had abused them. Their mother testified that Matthew’s behavior had worsened leading up to his breakdown and confirmed that, Jason revealed Batey’s abuse. Batey’s defense was that the parents manufactured the accusations because he is gay and because he had encouraged the boys to explore their homosexual feelings; he argued that it was Jason who sexually abused Matthew. Jason had molested Matthew and told the police as much when he accused Batey. Fearing a confusing “fishing expedition” and unduly prejudicial information about Matthew’s sexual history, the trial court granted the state’s motion in limine prohibiting any exploration of Matthew and Jason’s sexual history with each other in accordance with Michigan’s rape-shield law. Batey was permitted to challenge the boys’ credibility on their mental health issues, inconsistencies in their testimony, Jason’s drug and alcohol abuse, and his tendency to lie. The jury convicted Batey and the judge sentenced him to 15 to 45 years. Batey’s direct appeals were unsuccessful. He is on parole. The district court denied his federal habeas petition based on an alleged Confrontation Clause violation. The Sixth Circuit affirmed. The probative value of evidence about Jason’s molestation of Matthew was marginal and any error was harmless. View "Batey v. Haas" on Justia Law