This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2002).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
State of Minnesota,
Kevin Jon Loewen,
Filed July 1, 2003
Cottonwood County District Court
File No. K601140
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, James B. Early, Assistant Attorney General, 525 Park Street, Suite 500, St. Paul, MN 55103; and
L. Douglas Storey, Cottonwood County Attorney, 1044 Third Avenue, Windom, MN 56101 (for respondent)
John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Jodie L. Carlson, Assistant Public Defender, 2221 University Avenue SE, Suite 425, Minneapolis, MN 55414 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Klaphake, Presiding Judge, Willis, Judge, and Hudson, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
On appeal from his convictions of prostitution and sodomy, appellant argues that the evidence is insufficient to sustain his convictions because the complainant’s testimony was inconsistent and uncorroborated. In a pro se brief, appellant also alleges ineffective assistance of counsel, judicial bias, and evidentiary errors. Because there is sufficient evidence to support the convictions, and because appellant’s pro se claims do not warrant relief, we affirm.
In October 2000, Officer Doug Bristol of the Mountain Lake Police Department received a report from R.C.’s chemical-dependency counselor that on two occasions R.C. had performed oral sex on appellant Kevin Jon Loewen in exchange for marijuana. Officer Bristol interviewed R.C., who stated that the events took place during the summer of 1999, when R.C. was 16 years old and Loewen was 30 years old.
Officer Bristol asked R.C. to call Loewen and to discuss the reported events while Officer Bristol recorded the conversation. During the telephone conversation, Loewen initially denied the events but subsequently acknowledged giving R.C. some marijuana. When R.C. asked Loewen if he remembered receiving oral sex from him, Loewen responded, “I don’t remember that part of it but anything is possible.”
The state ultimately charged Loewen with two counts of prostitution, in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.321, subd. 9 (2000), and Minn. Stat. § 609.324, subd. 1(c)(1) (2000), and two counts of consensual sodomy, in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.293, subds. 1, 5 (2000). At trial, R.C. testified that on two occasions he performed oral sex on Loewen in exchange for marijuana. Loewen denied the allegations. A jury convicted Loewen of all four charges, and the district court sentenced him on the prostitution charges only, to a 17-month sentence for one count and a concurrent 15-month sentence for the other. This appeal follows.
Loewen argues that the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions of prostitution and sodomy because R.C.’s testimony was inconsistent, particularly with regard to dates, and, presumably, thereby not credible. Inconsistencies in testimony and conflicts in evidence, however, do not automatically render the testimony and evidence false and are not bases for reversal. State v. Stufflebean, 329 N.W.2d 314, 319 (Minn. 1983). A reviewing court must 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) (citation omitted). It is the jury’s prerogative to determine both the weight and credibility of the evidence. State v. Daniels, 361 N.W.2d 819, 826 (Minn. 1985). The evidence in this case is testimonial; the outcome of the trial depended entirely on whom and what the jury believed, and the jury believed R.C.’s testimony. See Seidl v. Trollhaugen, Inc., 305 Minn. 506, 508, 232 N.W.2d 236, 239 (1975) (stating that appellate court is obligated to affirm where conviction is based on assessment of credibility of witnesses whose demeanor can only be observed by jury and where district court approved jury verdict).
Loewen also argues that R.C.’s testimony was insufficient to support Loewen’s convictions because it was uncorroborated. Loewen cites State v. Hesse, 281 N.W.2d 491, 492 (Minn. 1979), in which the supreme court stated that “in an individual case the absence of corroboration might mandate a holding by this court that the evidence was legally insufficient.” But the court in that case found sufficient evidence without corroboration and specifically noted that there is no requirement of corroboration of testimony in a prosecution for “sex cases.” Id.; see also State v. Ani, 257 N.W.2d 699, 700 (Minn. 1977) (holding that conviction of criminal sexual conduct may rest on uncorroborated testimony of victim). Loewen’s argument fails.
Finally, Loewen cites State v. Langteau, 268 N.W.2d 76 (Minn. 1978), for the proposition that a conviction must be reversed when the only evidence is the conflicting testimony of a victim and a defendant who know each other, and there is no physical evidence linking the defendant to the crime. But the holding in Langteau is not that broad; in granting a new trial in that case, the supreme court expressed concern about unexplained fact issues, unsupported assertions by the prosecuting attorney, and irregularities in the jury’s deliberation process. Id. at 77. None of those circumstances is present here.
When viewed in the light most favorable to the conviction, the evidence was sufficient for the jury to find Loewen guilty of all four charges.
Loewen raises additional issues in his pro se brief, including allegations of ineffective assistance of counsel, judicial bias, and evidentiary errors. After consideration of these arguments, we find them to be without merit.