Criminal – KRE 404(b)(1) and evidence of voluntary intoxication; confrontation rights and 9-1-1 call: Reed v. Com. (COA 9/18/2009)

Reed v. Commonwealth
2008-CA-001563 9/18/09 2009 WL 2971749 DR pending

Opinion by Judge Lambert; Chief Judge Combs and Judge VanMeter concurred.

The Court affirmed appellant’s conviction entered upon a jury verdict, for second-degree manslaughter arising from a motor accident.

The Court first held that the trial court did not err in admitting certain evidence concerning appellant’s medical treatment, as it was admissible under KRE 404(b)(1) to show that appellant’s intoxication was voluntary, not the result of an accident in mixing the drugs and alcohol. The Court rejected appellant’s claim that his medical treatment was too attenuated and remote in time when both physicians treated him within a month before the accident. The Court next held appellant’s confrontation rights were not violated by the admission of a recording of an anonymous 9-1-1 call. Only the safety concerns expressed by the caller were admitted into evidence and the trial court properly ordered redaction of any testimonial statements expressed by the caller. The Court also held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in finding that the danger of undue prejudice outweighed the probative value of the 9-1-1 call. The Court finally held that neither the wanton murder statute, KRS 507.020(1)(b), nor the second-degree manslaughter statute, KRS 507.040(1)(a), were void for vagueness. Although appellant’s constitutional challenge focused on the definition of “wantonly,” the “extreme indifference to human life” provision challenged in Brown v. Commonwealth, 975 S.W.2d 922 (Ky. 1998),

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