Prosecutions Case in Chief
The government introduced evidence connecting Hearst with
criminal activity at a sporting goods store and with a
kidnapping and theft.
Occurred One More After Band Robbery
These incidents occurred in the Los Angeles area approximately
one month after the San Francisco bank robbery.
Evidence showed Hearst accompanied the Harrises, Discharged
The evidence showed that Hearst accompanied William and
Emily Harris to Mel's Sporting Goods Store in Los Angeles, that
the Harrises entered the store and left appellant outside in a
truck, that a store clerk saw William Harris shoplifting and
attempted to arrest him, and that Hearst discharged an
automatic rifle at the store, enabling Harris to escape.
Stole Van, Kidnapped Van Owner
The evidence further showed that on the same day appellant and
the Harrises stole a van and kidnapped its owner, Thomas
Kidnap Victim testimony showed Hearst was a part of this
Matthews testified that during this incident the Harrises were
outside the van and Hearst had an opportunity to escape
or give Matthews a message but did not do so
Hearst Objects Irrelevant, Improper convincing of the jury
She asserts the evidence was irrelevant for any purpose except
the improper one of convincing the jury that appellant acted in
accordance with a criminal disposition.
Hearst Argues District Acts were dissimilar to Bank Robbery
She argues that even if the evidence were relevant to the issue
of intent, as the district court held, the incidents were so
dissimilar to the bank robbery that its
probative value was minimal and
outweighed by its prejudicial effect.
Evidence of being a probable perpetrator
Evidence of other criminal acts may be persuasive that the
accused is by propensity a probable perpetrator of the crime
Excluded when offered as a
Nonetheless, it is excluded
when offered for this purpose because
it may unduly influence the
jury and deny the accused a fair opportunity to defend
against the particular charge.
Evidence of other criminal acts may be admitted
Evidence of other criminal acts may be admitted for purposes
other than proving criminal predisposition, however.
It may be received, for example, to prove knowledge, motive, and
Prosecution Contends Subsequent criminal act was relevant
The government contends that the evidence of appellant's
criminal acts in Los Angeles
a month after the bank robbery
was relevant to the issue of
when she participated in the San
Francisco bank robbery, and
to whether appellant was acting
To Convict Hurst, Required to show
Hurst was not acting under duress when she participated in the
San Francisco bank robbery.
The evidence of Hursts involvement in the Los Angeles activity
was relevant to this issue because it tended to show Hurst
willingly engaged in other criminal activity with persons of the
same group at a time not unduly remote.
Hurst Args - Los Angeles offenses were not similar to the San
Because the events were so
dissimilar, she contends, they offer
little insight into her state of mind during the
robbery. (Trying to prove
- To justify admission of evidence of other crimes
The crimes must be "similar" to the offense charged
only if it is the
similarity of the crimes that underlies the relevance of the
Duress (INTENT) is not related to similar circumstance
Here the relevance of the evidence
did not depend on the similarity of the Los Angeles
crimes to the bank robbery but on the circumstances surrounding
the occurrence of the Los Angeles crimes,
which indicated appellant had
not acted under duress when she participated in the bank robbery.
Tendency of evidence show Hurst was not coerced when she
The tendency of the evidence regarding the Los Angeles crimes to
prove appellant was not coerced
when she participated in
the San Francisco robbery is
not diminished by the lack of similarity between the
Los Angeles and San Francisco offenses.
Hurst Arg Sequence events undermines relevance does NOT
determine earlier state of mind
The sequence of the San Francisco and Los Angeles events
undermines the relevance of the latter to her state of mind
during the San Francisco robbery.
Absence of Duress is later even would not prove her state of
mind in the earlier robbery
Absence of duress in the later Los Angeles incidents would not
be probative of her state of mind during the San Francisco
She contends, because the robbery itself made her an outlaw and
Her previous duress made it appear she participant willing in
This fact may have caused her to participate willingly in the
Los Angeles events, she asserts, even if she were under duress
during the earlier robbery.
- Appellant's hypothesis does bear upon the probative value of
It is an appropriate consideration.
Only a hypothesis
Highly speculative one.
The jury could well reject appellant's theory and conclude that
if appellant had been forced to participate in the bank robbery
against her will she would have refrained from criminal activity
in Los Angeles or seized the opportunity to escape.
- The district court acted well within its discretion in
admitting the evidence.
Appellant's state of mind during the San Francisco robbery was
the central issue in the case.
State of mind is usually difficult to prove, and the evidence on
the issue was sharply divided.
The timing and other circumstances
of the Los Angeles incidents made
evidence of them highly probative on this critical
Though criminal, the incidents were
not of a kind likely to inflame the jury.
The prejudice to appellant arose primarily from the light the
evidence cast on appellant's
state of mind during the San Francisco robbery and not from the
incidental circumstance that it revealed appellant's involvement
in other criminal acts.