Jerry B. v. Sally B.

[CIVIL PROCEDURE]

In Jerry B. v. Sally B.,[1] the supreme court held that, where a criminal conviction has been entered into evidence in a civil suit, the convicted party may be collaterally estopped from relitigating issues decided in the criminal case.[2] A husband was arrested following allegations that he had sexually abused his daughter.[3] His wife initiated divorce proceedings and he later pled guilty to one count of indecent exposure.[4] After the divorce proceedings ended in a court decision that heavily favored the wife,[5] the husband appealed, arguing that the court had improperly relied on his indecent exposure conviction in reaching its decision.[6] Based on its precedent, the supreme court held that a party in a civil proceeding is collaterally estopped from relitigating issues relating to a criminal conviction, enabling the court to rely on the conviction as conclusive evidence that the crime did occur, so long as the conviction is for a serious criminal offense, the party has had a full and fair hearing, and the issue on which the court’s judgment is based (in this case, whether or not the crime occurred) was necessarily decided in the criminal proceeding.[7] The court held that all of these criteria were met in this case, and, therefore, collateral estoppel was appropriate, because indecent exposure is a felony, the husband had been represented by counsel during the proceedings, and the elements of the crime of indecent exposure allowed the court to infer the nature of the abuse to which the husband had subjected his daughter in the manner in which it did.[8] Affirming this element of the lower court’s decision, the supreme court held that a criminal conviction may collaterally estop a party to a civil suit from relitigating issues relating to the crime, such as whether or not the crime occurred.[9]

[1] 377 P.3d 916.
[2] Id. at 926–27.
[3] Id. at 921.
[4] Id. at 921–22.
[5] See id. at 923–24.
[6] Id. at 925.
[7] Id. at 926.
[8] Id. at 927.
[9] Id. at 926–27.

Jerry B. v. Sally B.

[CIVIL PROCEDURE]

In Jerry B. v. Sally B.,[1] the supreme court held that, where a criminal conviction has been entered into evidence in a civil suit, the convicted party may be collaterally estopped from relitigating issues decided in the criminal case.[2] A husband was arrested following allegations that he had sexually abused his daughter.[3] His wife initiated divorce proceedings and he later pled guilty to one count of indecent exposure.[4] After the divorce proceedings ended in a court decision that heavily favored the wife,[5] the husband appealed, arguing that the court had improperly relied on his indecent exposure conviction in reaching its decision.[6] Based on its precedent, the supreme court held that a party in a civil proceeding is collaterally estopped from relitigating issues relating to a criminal conviction, enabling the court to rely on the conviction as conclusive evidence that the crime did occur, so long as the conviction is for a serious criminal offense, the party has had a full and fair hearing, and the issue on which the court’s judgment is based (in this case, whether or not the crime occurred) was necessarily decided in the criminal proceeding.[7] The court held that all of these criteria were met in this case, and, therefore, collateral estoppel was appropriate, because indecent exposure is a felony, the husband had been represented by counsel during the proceedings, and the elements of the crime of indecent exposure allowed the court to infer the nature of the abuse to which the husband had subjected his daughter in the manner in which it did.[8] Affirming this element of the lower court’s decision, the supreme court held that a criminal conviction may collaterally estop a party to a civil suit from relitigating issues relating to the crime, such as whether or not the crime occurred.[9]

[1] 377 P.3d 916.
[2] Id. at 926–27.
[3] Id. at 921.
[4] Id. at 921–22.
[5] See id. at 923–24.
[6] Id. at 925.
[7] Id. at 926.
[8] Id. at 927.
[9] Id. at 926–27.