Hennepin County District Court. File No. 02028825.
Considered and decided by Schumacher , Presiding Judge; Shumaker , Judge; and Parker , Judge.*fn1
A defendant's statement to police taken in violation of Miranda may be used to impeach the defendant's trial testimony even if the statement's only impeachment value is its omission of some details a suspect could ordinarily be expected to relate.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Robert H. Schumacher, Judge
This appeal is from a conviction of one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, Minn. Stat. 609.344, subd. 1(d) (2002) (prohibiting sexual intercourse when complainant physically helpless). Appellant Saye Lawrence Whittle argues that the trial court abused its discretion in limiting his cross-examination of the victim and in allowing the state to impeach him with a prior statement that was not truly inconsistent with his trial testimony. We affirm.
Whittle was charged with third- and fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct for allegedly having sexual penetration and sexual contact with two women, K.K. and N.M., while the women were asleep following a party at their house. Whittle, who was a guest at the party, claimed the women were not asleep and that the sexual conduct, in each case, was consensual.
Before trial, the state brought a motion to exclude any reference to K.K.'s belief that she was on probation at the time of the party. The defense sought to cross-examine K.K. on the subject to support a theory that K.K. was motivated to claim the sexual conduct was criminal in order to shift the focus from her own use of cocaine, which she could have believed was a violation of her probation. As an offer of proof, the defense presented a computer printout showing that K.K. had been arrested on November 23, 2001, in North Dakota, charged with"hindering law enforcement," a Class A misdemeanor, and may have been placed on unsupervised probation, and that she would not have been discharged from probation until after the charged offense occurred.
The trial court ruled that the defense could not impeach K.K. with her North Dakota probationary status because the evidence was"too remote," and the potential prejudice to the state's case outweighed its probative value.
K.K. testified that she was living in a south Minneapolis house with four other women in March 2002. One Friday night, after working all day as a waitress, she got a call from Don Coquillette, a friend of the women at the residence, and agreed to meet him at a Minneapolis bar. One of K.K.'s roommates accompanied her. At the bar, they met Coquillette and Whittle, whom they had never met before.
At some point it was agreed that they would try to buy some cocaine that night. After Coquillette could not locate any cocaine, the four of them drove to the women's home to make more calls. They eventually located N.M., another roommate, at a party where, she told them, she had obtained cocaine. After driving to the party and picking up N.M., they returned to the women's home, intending to use the cocaine. K.K. testified that all five of them used the cocaine, while partying mostly in N.M.'s large master bedroom.
K.K. testified that at about 5:00 a.m. she closed the door to her bedroom, which was next to N.M.'s, changed into her pajamas, and went to sleep. She testified that she woke later to find Whittle on top of her, having vaginal intercourse with her. She tried to push him off of her, eventually succeeding, got dressed and left for work. But after realizing she was too upset to work, she drove to her family's home in North Dakota, where after taking a nap she described the sexual assault to her older sister. She did not, however, tell her sister that she had used cocaine during the ...