United States v. Wandahsega

Wandahsega was convicted of abusive sexual contact, 18 U.S.C. 2244(a)(5), after Wandahsega’s then-six-year-old son, H.D.W., told his grandmother and others that Wandahsega had touched him inappropriately. Wandahsega and H.D.W. are Native Americans and lived on the Hannahville Reservation. After his mother’s death, H.D.W. split his time between his maternal grandparents and Wandahsega’s apartment. Wandahsega denied touching his son but said that he sometimes blacks out from drinking and did not know what, if anything, he might have done to H.D.W. The Michigan State Police Forensic Laboratory found saliva on the inside rear portion of a pair of H.D.W.’s underwear, and testing established that the saliva contained a mixture of both H.D.W.’s and Wandahsega’s DNA. The Sixth Circuit affirmed Wandahsega’s conviction and 288-month sentence, rejecting an argument that the district court erred in allowing H.D.W. to testify by closed-circuit television and upholding the district court’s evidentiary rulings concerning the testimony of medical professionals and others about what H.D.W. told them. The court upheld the district court’s decision to deny Wandahsega the opportunity to present to the jury a video of a supervised visit between H.D.W. and Wandahsega. The evidence was sufficient to support the conviction and the sentence is procedurally and substantively reasonable. View "United States v. Wandahsega" on Justia Law