In June 2002, 47-year-old Bradley Crawford was charged with misdemeanor stalking in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma after his ex-girlfriend told police he followed her in his car, drove repeatedly past her home and stopped at times to gaze through the windows of her residence.
Crawford went on trial in Oklahoma County District Court in April 2003. His ex-girlfriend testified that after they broke up earlier that year, Crawford continued to follow her and drove by her home on his Harley Davidson motorcycle repeatedly.
Prior to the trial, Crawford’s attorney, Michael Rogalin, filed a motion seeking to call an attorney for the woman’s ex-husband to testify as a defense witness that the woman was in a custody battle with her ex-husband.
Crawford had broken up with the woman in part because he was upset that she was too physical in disciplining her child, and especially because she repeatedly beat the child with wire coat hangers. The woman’s ex-husband was seeking full custody of the child and his lawyer had subpoenaed Crawford to testify about the woman’s harsh disciplinary practices.
Rogalin argued that testimony from the ex-husband’s lawyer was relevant because the woman had falsely accused Crawford of stalking in an attempt to prevent Crawford from testifying at the custody hearing. Judge James Croy excluded the testimony.
After the prosecution completed direct examination of the woman, Rogalin attempted to cross examine her about Crawford’s possible role as a witness in the child custody case. The state objected. Rogalin argued Crawford had a constitutional right to cross examine the complaining witness in order to expose to the jury any bias or motive for her to testify falsely. Judge Croy sustained the prosecution’s objection and refused to let the defense cross examine the woman about the custody case.
On April 9, 2003, a jury convicted Crawford. He was sentenced to six months in jail.
In May 2004, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals reversed the conviction and ordered a new trial. The court held that Crawford’s attorney should have been allowed to present the evidence of the custody battle: “It is our opinion that evidence about the potential bias and motive of the complaining witness in this case is relevant.”
On July 15, 2004, the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s Office dismissed the case.
– Maurice Possley