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Convicted rapist's prior conviction suppressed

The judge presiding over the trial of convicted rapist and former Port Orchard resident Richard Lynn Sauer ruled last week that the prosecution cannot present the defendant’s prior conviction to the jury.

Sauer, 27, is currently being held in Kitsap County Jail awaiting trial — set to begin Sept. 29 — on charges that he raped a 20-year-old woman in the Long Lake area in July 2000.

He was convicted last year of first-degree rape and first-degree burglary and sentenced to almost 30 years in prison in a separate and more recent incident where he assaulted a woman at knifepoint in June 2002.

Last week, Kitsap Superior Court Judge Russell W. Hartman denied two motions from the state attorney to allow evidence, and is yet to rule on one from the defendant’s lawyer to suppress.

Kitsap County Deputy Prosecutor Stan Glisson motioned to admit into evidence the defendant’s prior conviction and to propel the defense to provide the results of an independent test it ordered done on DNA evidence collected from one of the victims.

Glisson argued that although notifying the jury of the defendant’s prior conviction could be “powerfully prejudicial,” he said the question should be whether it is “unfairly prejudicial.”

“There is nothing unfair about presenting information to a jury about something he did,” Glisson said at a hearing.

Glisson went on to argue that the defendant’s prior conviction identified a “common scheme or plan,” and despite one “glaring difference of brutality,” the two rapes were “tremendously similar.”

“The 2002 rape was far less physically abusive than the 2000 rape,” he said, “which we are theorizing to be because the defendant knew the victim in the 2002 case, which decreased the aggression.”

However, Sauer’s attorney Larry Knappert argued there was not an “identifiable signature” to link the two cases together, and the evidence would be more harmful if presented than not.

Judge Hartman agreed with the defense, ruling presenting the prior conviction would be more prejudicial than prohibitive to present.

Glisson’s second motion was to compel the defense to reveal the results of a second, independent DNA test it had performed on a sample taken from the victim in the 2000 case.

A sexual assault examination was done at Harrison Hospital immediately after that attack, but the DNA samples collected from the victim were not matched against Sauer’s DNA until Sept. 13, when a forensic scientist entered Sauer’s DNA into the computer and matched him to the 2000 attack.

Glisson argued that the state should be allowed to see the results of the second test because it is “material, relevant information.”

Judge Hartman ruled against the prosecution again, finding that if the state is allowed access to any investigation performed by defense, it will in effect create another state witness and have a chilling effect on defense lawyers.

Finally, the judge requested more time to consider Knappert’s motion to suppress the victim’s identification of the defendant because it had been made in court during the defendant’s arraignment.

Glisson argued that the identification should be admissible because it was “instantaneous and non-provoked.” It happened as the defendant was being led into the courtroom flanked by 10 men of the same race and age, he said, and before any of their names was called.

Glisson said Hartman wanted to investigate further into relevant case law, and further briefings were scheduled. He expected the ruling would be made shortly before the trial would begin.

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