This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2002).






State of Minnesota,





Victor Kojo Damptey,



Filed March 4, 2003


Harten, Judge


Hennepin County District Court

File No. 02019877


Allan H. Caplan, Sherri D. Hawley, Allan H. Caplan & Associates, P.A., 525 Lumber Exchange Building, 10 South Fifth Street, Minneapolis, MN 55402 (for appellant)


Mike Hatch, Attorney General, 525 Park Street, Suite 500, St. Paul, MN 55103; and


Steven M. Tallen, Paul D. Baertschi, Tallen & Baertschi, 4640 IDS Center, 80 South Eighth Street, Minneapolis, MN 55402 (for respondent)


            Considered and decided by Peterson, Presiding Judge, Harten, Judge, and Halbrooks, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N




            Appellant challenges his convictions of domestic assault and disorderly conduct, arguing that there was insufficient evidence to support the findings of guilt and that the district court erred in denying his motion for judgment of acquittal.  We affirm.


            Appellant Victor Damptey and his wife separated in February 2002.  Appellant’s wife described him as an abusive, controlling, and domineering person.  On 10 March 2002, appellant and his wife got into an argument at the couple’s residence.  At trial, his wife testified that he twisted her arm behind her back, pushed her down some stairs, stepped on her wrist, and “threw [her] down and * * * put his fist in [her] throat,” restricting her air supply for about a minute.

            After appellant left the house, his wife called the police.  An officer arrived within minutes; he later testified that appellant’s wife appeared very frightened, that her hands were trembling, and that she had scratches on her hand.  A second officer responded to the call and stopped appellant’s car about a half mile from the house.  That officer later testified that appellant was shaking, that his shirt was torn and his glasses were bent, and that “he had a small like fingernail scrape or cut that was bleeding on the side of his face.”

            Appellant was arrested and charged with domestic assault in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.2242 (2000), and disorderly conduct in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.72 (2000).  The matter was tried to the district court without a jury.  At the end of the state’s case, appellant moved for judgment of acquittal.  The district court denied the motion.  After appellant presented his case, the district court took the matter under advisement and later found appellant guilty of both offenses.  Appellant challenges the convictions, arguing that there was insufficient evidence to support them and that the district court erred in denying his motion for judgment of acquittal.


            In considering a claim of insufficient evidence, our review is limited to a painstaking analysis of the record to determine whether the evidence, when viewed in the light most favorable to the conviction, is sufficient to allow the factfinder to reach its verdict.  State v. Webb, 440 N.W.2d 426, 430 (Minn. 1989).  We must assume the factfinder believed the witnesses whose testimony supported the verdict and disbelieved any evidence to the contrary.  State v. Moore, 438 N.W.2d 101, 108 (Minn. 1989).  We will not disturb the verdict if the factfinder, acting with due regard for the presumption of innocence and the requirement of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, could reasonably conclude that the defendant was guilty of the charged offense.  State v. Alton, 432 N.W.2d 754, 756 (Minn. 1988).

            A person commits domestic assault if he or she “intentionally inflicts or attempts to inflict bodily harm” on a family or household member.  Minn. Stat. § 609.2242, subd. 1(2) (2000).  “Bodily harm” includes “physical pain or injury.”  Minn. Stat. § 609.02, subd. 7 (2000).

            Appellant argues that the evidence was insufficient to support the convictions because his wife’s testimony was not credible.  But the factfinder determines the weight and credibility of the witnesses’ testimony.  State v. Dickerson, 481 N.W.2d 840, 843 (Minn. 1992).  The district court specifically stated that it found the wife’s testimony credible.[1]  Moreover, the officers’ testimony corroborated the wife’s version of the incident.  Appellant’s wife testified that the assault left her with cuts on her hands, that she grabbed appellant’s shirt as he pushed her down the stairs, and that she tried “to fight him off.”  One officer testified that appellant’s wife had cuts on her hand, and the other officer testified that appellant had a scratch on his face, a torn shirt, and bent glasses.  We conclude that there was ample evidence to support the convictions.

Appellant also argues that the evidence was insufficient to prove that he did not act in self-defense.  But appellant specifically denied stepping on his wife’s wrist and pressing his fist against her throat.  Therefore, his self-defense claim is inapplicable to his defense at trial.  Moreover, appellant’s wife testified that he was the aggressor.  See State v. McKissic, 415 N.W.2d 341, 344 (Minn. App. 1987) (one element of self-defense claim is an absence of aggression on part of accused); see also State v. Basting, 572 N.W.2d 281, 286 (Minn. 1997) (state need only disprove one element to defeat self-defense claim).  The evidence was sufficient to prove that appellant did not act in self-defense.

            Finally, appellant contends that the district court erred in denying his motion for judgment of acquittal.  Minn. R. Crim. P. 26.03, subd. 17(1), provides that a district court “shall order the entry of a judgment of acquittal * * * if the evidence is insufficient to sustain a conviction.”  Appellant moved for judgment of acquittal after his wife and the two officers had testified against him.  But their testimony yielded sufficient evidence to sustain convictions of domestic assault and disorderly conduct.  We conclude that the district court did not err in denying appellant’s motion.



[1] Appellant notes that the district court did not make written findings of fact as required by Minn. R. Crim. P. 26.01, subd. 2.  The rule provides, however, that “[i]f the court omits a finding on any issue of fact essential to sustain the general finding, it shall be deemed to have made a finding consistent with the general finding.”  Accordingly, we consider any essential findings of fact to be consistent with the general finding of guilt.