Sherburne County District Court File No. 71CR10891
Lori Swanson, Minnesota Attorney General, Matthew Frank, Assistant Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and Kathleen A. Heaney, Sherburne County Attorney, Suzanne Bollman, Assistant County Attorney, Elk River, Minnesota (for respondent)
David W. Merchant, Chief Appellate Public Defender, Rachel F. Bond, Assistant Public Defender, St. Paul, Minnesota (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Hudson, Presiding Judge; Schellhas, Judge; and Stauber, Judge.
On appeal from his conviction of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, appellant argues that (1) the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction and (2) the district court abused its discretion by denying his motion for a downward dispositional departure. Appellant also filed a pro se supplemental brief claiming that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel. We affirm.
Appellant Randolph Johnson was charged with one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct (force or coercion) in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.344, subd. 1(c) (2008), and one count of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct (force or coercion) in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.345, subd. 1(c) (2008). The complaint alleged that on June 19, 2010, appellant sexually assaulted his girlfriend, K.L. At trial, K.L. testified that she lived with appellant, with whom she had an intimate relationship. K.L. testified that in June 2010, she travelled to Georgia to visit her son. While she was in Georgia, K.L. began receiving sexually explicit text messages from appellant. In the messages, appellant insisted that K.L. have sex with him when she returned from Georgia. K.L. responded by telling appellant that he was "gross" and that she wanted out of the relationship.
K.L. testified that when she arrived home, appellant "met me at the door and gave me a kiss and immediately groped my crotch." According to K.L., appellant insisted that she have sex with him that night. K.L. told appellant that she was not going to have sex with him, and that she just wanted to unpack and relax. K.L. claimed that appellant then followed her around the house telling her that she was going to have sex with him that night, and "that the sooner [she] agreed to it . . ., the sooner [they] could have a good evening."
K.L. testified that after the couple had an altercation in the garage, she went downstairs to her bathroom to "[g]et away" from appellant. According to K.L., appellant confronted her in the bathroom saying "you're going to f--- me" while grabbing her breasts and her shirt. Although K.L. told appellant to leave her alone, he kept "grabbing" at her and somehow they "ended up on the floor." Appellant eventually got K.L.'s pants off and inserted his finger into K.L.'s vagina. K.L. testified that she screamed from the pain and told appellant to stop. Appellant then left the room to get some lubricant.
K.L. testified that after appellant left, she grabbed her cell phone and texted a friend: "come here and bring the police. Rape!" Appellant then returned with the lubricant, squirted it on K.L., and again inserted his fingers in K.L.'s vagina. K.L. claimed that she told appellant "no" and that his actions caused her "[e]xtreme" pain. According to K.L., appellant stopped when her dogs began barking upstairs and she screamed for help because she thought her friend had arrived. K.L. testified that when the dogs started barking, "I think [appellant] got nervous and he ran upstairs." K.L. followed appellant upstairs where she waited until the police arrived. K.L. was then taken to a hospital, and a subsequent examination revealed that she had several bruises, abrasions, and a seven millimeter tear in the vaginal area.
On cross examination, K.L. admitted that some of the bruising and abrasions were unrelated to the incident that night, and that some of the bruises may have occurred from the altercation the couple had in the garage before the alleged sexual assault occurred. Moreover, the nurse who examined K.L. admitted that K.L.'s vaginal tear was "[p]retty small" and that K.L's physical injuries may not have come from the alleged sexual assault. Appellant testified in his defense and admitted that he had an altercation with K.L. in the garage. But appellant claimed that the two eventually calmed down and engaged in consensual sexual contact on the floor of the bathroom. Appellant testified that he eventually stopped touching K.L.'s vagina when she told him that "this just isn't working."
A jury found appellant guilty of the charged offenses. Appellant subsequently moved for a downward dispositional departure. The district court denied the motion and sentenced ...