This opinion will be unpublished and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

A03-1559

 

 

State of Minnesota,

Respondent,

 

vs.

 

David A. Caroon,

Appellant.

 

 

Filed July 27, 2004

Affirmed

Robert H. Schumacher, Judge

 

Hennepin County District Court

File No. 03004449

 

 

Mike Hatch, Attorney General, 1800 NCL Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101-2134; and

 

Peter A. MacMillan, Michele R. Wallace, MacMillan & Wallace, PLLP, 9955 59th Avenue North, Suite 125, Minneapolis, MN 55442-1671 (for respondent)

 

John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Michael F. Cromett, 2221 University Avenue Southeast, Suite 425, Minneapolis, MN 55414 (for appellant)

 

 

Considered and decided by Stoneburner, Presiding Judge; Schumacher, Judge; and Klaphake, Judge.

 

U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N

ROBERT H. SCHUMACHER, Judge

Appellant David A. Caroon challenges his conviction of gross misdemeanor domestic assault, arguing there was insufficient evidence to support the conviction. We affirm.

FACTS

Caroon and S.T. had a romantic relationship for approximately 12 years and had lived together "off and on" for approximately eight years. They are the parents of a four-year-old boy.[1] S.T. told police that on December 14, 2002, Caroon had punched her in the back and face. Caroon was charged with gross misdemeanor domestic assault in violation of Minn. Stat.  609.2242, subds. 1(2), (2) (2002). S.T., Caroon, two of S.T.'s children, S.T.'s sister, and the investigating police officers testified at trial.

S.T. testified that Caroon and their four-year-old son had fallen asleep together on the couch at her residence the night of December 13, 2002. In the morning, Caroon entered S.T.'s bedroom and wanted to have sex with her. She said no, and Caroon punched her in the back and hit her in the face. Afterwards, Caroon refused to leave the residence, and S.T. sought assistance from M.T., her 15-year-old daughter. M.T. woke her 17-year-old brother, W.T., who pushed Caroon out the front door.

Approximately 20 minutes later, S.T.'s sister arrived and told S.T. that she should go to the hospital. While at the hospital, S.T. received four to five stitches above her eye and gave a statement to the police. The testimony of S.T.'s children, S.T.'s sister, and Officer Mark Skjolsvik, who interviewed S.T. while she was receiving care at the hospital, substantially corresponded with S.T.'s testimony regarding these events.

S.T. also testified to telling a prosecuting attorney prior to trial that Caroon had not hit her. At trial, S.T. said that she had done this because she was afraid Caroon would terrorize her and her children. S.T. explained that Caroon "made" her say that their four-year-old had hit her or jumped on her. She also testified that she had lied to the prosecutor because Caroon asked her to, but was now telling the truth. On cross-examination, S.T. testified to an ongoing custody dispute between herself and Caroon regarding their son.

Caroon testified that on the morning of December 14, he and his son woke up together at S.T.'s residence and went together to S.T.'s bedroom. Caroon needed S.T. to watch their son while he went to work. Caroon said that the four-year-old was jumping on the bed and protesting Caroon's leaving. Caroon walked out of the room to get ready for work, leaving the four-year-old and S.T. together. Shortly thereafter, S.T. walked out of the room bleeding. Caroon denied asking S.T. to have sex with him and denied having any involvement in her injury. According to Caroon, W.T. came out of his bedroom after S.T. had been injured, asked Caroon to leave, threw him across the floor, and hit him. S.T. attempted to intervene, and W.T. hit S.T. a couple times.

Caroon also testified that S.T. made false statements to the police in May 2003 regarding his "kidnapping" of their son and interfering with S.T.'s parental rights. Officer Derrick Hacker provided testimony regarding S.T.'s May 2003 allegation, explaining that the officer dispatched to investigate concluded that "there was in fact no deprivation of parental rights."

The jury found Caroon guilty of gross misdemeanor domestic assault in violation of Minn. Stat.  609.2242, subds. 1(2), (2). The district court sentenced Caroon to 365 days in jail with Huber Work Release.

D E C I S I O N

A person is guilty of misdemeanor domestic assault under Minn. Stat.  609.2242, subd. 1(2), if he or she intentionally inflicts or attempts to inflict bodily harm on another family or household member. Domestic assault is a gross misdemeanor if in the previous five years the defendant has been convicted of a qualified domestic-violence-related offense. Minn. Stat.  609.2242, subd. 2.

Caroon argues there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction because the evidence showed that prior to trial S.T. had recanted her claim he had assaulted her, at the time the two were contesting the custody of their son, and S.T. had made a false accusation against him around the same time regarding his interference with her parental rights. Caroon does not contest that he had been convicted of a qualified domestic-violence-related offense in the previous five years, making the charge of domestic assault a gross misdemeanor under section 609.2242, subdivision 2.

In considering a claim of insufficient evidence, we review the evidence and any inference from it in a light most favorable to the verdict. State v. DeWald, 463 N.W.2d 741, 748 (Minn. 1990). We assume that the jury believed the state's witnesses and disbelieved testimony to the contrary. State v. Wahlberg, 296 N.W.2d 408, 411 (Minn. 1980).

S.T. testified that during the morning of December 14, 2002, Caroon entered her bedroom, demanded sex, and hit her after she refused to have sex with him. At trial, Caroon raised other theories to explain S.T.'s injury, including that her four-year-old son injured her while jumping on the bed and that her 17-year-old son punched her. Caroon also raised issues bearing on S.T.'s credibility, including her recantation to a prosecutor prior to trial, the ongoing dispute over the custody of their son, and his claim that S.T. made a false accusation against him regarding his interference with her parental rights.

A conviction can rest on the testimony of a single witness, and it is the jury that determines the weight and credibility to be assigned to individual witnesses. State v. Miles, 585 N.W.2d 368, 373 (Minn. 1998). The jury in this case had ample opportunity to evaluate the credibility of S.T. based on her interest and past inconsistent statement. See State v. Moore, 438 N.W.2d 101, 108 (Minn. 1989) (concluding testimony of witnesses was sufficient to support conviction even though defendant attacked credibility of witnesses). We must assume the jury did not believe Caroon's explanations and believed S.T. Wahlberg, 296 N.W.2d at 411. Based on S.T.'s testimony, there is sufficient evidence to support the conviction.

Affirmed.



[1] All ages of S.T.'s children provided in this opinion are the ages at the time of trial.