John Kevin Odowd was charged with incest. Prior to trial, the defendant filed a motion to allow him to reference the reason he and his ex-wife divorced and why he was awarded custody and child support. At the hearing on the motion, the defendant argued that his ex-wife left him because she wanted to undergo a sex change operation and that she was denied custody due to her gender identity disorder. The defendant claimed that the only way his ex-wife could get custody of the children was to manipulate them into making false allegations of sexual abuse.
The court ruled that the prejudicial nature of the defendant’ s ex-wife’ s gender identification issues was greatly outweighed by any probative value. It pointed out that the defense could argue the defendant’s ex-wife manipulated the children, but did not feel that it was necessary to allow testimony regarding the transgender issue because it was such a ” hot-button” issue. The court also opined that if that information were presented to the jury, “that’ s the only thing they hear. They don’ t hear anything else at that point. It’ s so prejudicial, and it’ s not probative of anything.”
Odowd was convicted. On appeal, the court rejected his argument that he should have been allowed to raise his ex-wife’s transition, and his conviction was affirmed.