Anoka County District Court File No. 02-CR-12-5162
Lori Swanson, Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and Kurt B.J. Glaser, Centerville City Attorney, Minneapolis, Minnesota (for respondent).
Cathryn Middlebrook, Interim Chief Appellate Public Defender, Stephen L. Smith, Assistant Public Defender, St. Paul, Minnesota (for appellant).
Considered and decided by Cleary, Presiding Judge; Kirk, Judge; and Smith, Judge.
We affirm appellant's convictions of misdemeanor domestic assault because the evidence presented at trial was sufficient for the jury to find him guilty.
Appellant James Allen Johnson's wife, L.J., told him one morning that she wanted a divorce. She slept on a couch in the basement that night. Her teenage son and one of his friends slept on additional couches in the same room. Early the next morning, Johnson entered the basement, began yelling profanities, and ordered L.J. to leave the house immediately. L.J. attempted to calm him, reiterating their plan that she would leave with the children. Johnson continued to scream at L.J., causing her to be frightened. Johnson threw his coffee cup at L.J., hitting her in the arm. L.J.'s son attempted to intervene, asking Johnson to leave the basement. Johnson confronted L.J.'s son chest-to-chest, and L.J. screamed at him to stop. Johnson seized L.J.'s arm and threw her body into a wall, injuring her shoulder. The impact also caused a sconce to fall off the wall, which struck L.J. on the arm. L.J. attempted to defend herself, swinging at Johnson as he held her against the wall. Her son's friend slept through the entire incident.
L.J.'s son summoned the police. The officers who responded noticed that L.J. was shaking and crying. Her arm was bruised and swollen. Johnson told the police that L.J. had slapped him, but the officers did not observe any resulting injuries.
The state charged Johnson with misdemeanor domestic assault (intentionally inflicting or attempting to inflict bodily harm). After a jury trial, the district court convicted Johnson for domestic assault and sentenced him to 90 days in jail, but it stayed execution of the sentence with the exception of the two days Johnson served while awaiting trial.
Johnson argues that the evidence supporting his conviction is insufficient as a matter of law, alleging that inconsistencies in the witnesses' testimonies render those witnesses not credible. When reviewing a sufficiency-of-the-evidence claim, we are limited to conducting a painstaking analysis of the record to determine whether the evidence, viewed in a light most favorable to the conviction, is sufficient to allow the jury to reach the verdict that it did. State v. Webb, 440 N.W.2d 426, 430 (Minn. 1989). We assume that "the jury believed the state's witnesses and disbelieved any evidence to the contrary." State v. Moore, 438 N.W.2d 101, 108 (Minn. 1989). We defer to the jury's determinations of witness credibility and we ...