New Hampshire v. DavidsonAnnotate this Case
Defendant Roderick Davidson appealed his conviction by a jury on three counts of simple assault and one count of criminal mischief. He argued that the Superior Court erred by: (1) denying his motions in limine to exclude evidence that he "controlled" the complainant; and (2) denying his request for a defense of property instruction. In October 2009, Defendant and the complainant lived together. Consistent with their habit of "br[eaking] up every other day," Defendant broke up with the complainant. They nonetheless drove home together, napped together for about three hours, and then went to dinner together at a restaurant. After dinner, during which they both consumed some alcohol, Defendant drove the couple home, where they began to argue about money. The complainant insisted that they talk, and in an attempt to do so, Defendant grabbed her and threw her into a wall. The complainant ended up on her back at the bottom of the stairs with Defendant above her, and that his hand made contact with her face. The following day, the complainant had a bruised eye, which she tried to conceal with makeup. After speaking with several people, she ultimately decided to go to the police. Upon review of the record, the Supreme Court found the trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting evidence of Defendant’s prior bad acts. However, the Court concluded the trial court erred in admitting "unlimited context" evidence as inherently prejudicial. In light of the Court's reversal of Defendant’s convictions for improperly admitted evidence, it did not reach Defendant’s jury instruction argument.