In a rare decision, an entire federal appeals court will revisit a Michigan case to determine whether the sex life of an alleged rape victim can be fair game for the defense at trial.
In a 2-1 ruling in February, an appeals panel said Lewis Gagne’s rights were violated when an Ingham County judge excluded some evidence.
The full 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out that decision Tuesday and said it will rehear the case. Chief Judge Alice Batchelder believes the earlier ruling could have threatened rape-shield laws in Michigan and other states.
Gagne was sentenced in 2001 to up to 45 years in prison for first-degree criminal sexual conduct. He claimed he had consensual group sex with the woman. He was not allowed to tell jurors about an earlier act.
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