Idaho v. LeavittAnnotate this Case
Following a jury trial, Travis Leavitt was convicted for statutory rape of a 17-year-old girl. He was 34 years old at the time of the incident. After the trial had begun, the State disclosed new evidence regarding Leavitt’s past criminal record, which the district court admitted. Leavitt challenged his conviction on the basis that the court allowed impermissible propensity evidence to be presented to the jury, including evidence of his criminal sexual history. Additionally, Leavitt asserted that even if the admission of such evidence were proper under Rule 404(b), the State failed to show good cause for its late disclosure of the evidence disclosed after trial began and evidence that he was a felon and a sex offender should have been barred as unfairly prejudicial under Rule 403. Leavitt’s appeal was initially heard by the Idaho Court of Appeals, which vacated his conviction and remanded the case for a new trial in an unpublished decision. The Idaho Supreme Court granted the State’s petition for review of the Court of Appeals’ decision. Though its reasoning differed, the Court reached the same result, concurring the trial court erred, and affirming the appeals court's outcome.