This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2006).






State of Minnesota,





Isaac Ayer Stafford,



Filed July 17, 2007

Klaphake, Judge


Goodhue County District Court

File No. K1-05-912


Lori Swanson, Attorney General, James B. Early, Assistant Attorney General, 1800 Bremer Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN  55101-2134; and


Stephen N. Betcher, Goodhue County Attorney, Goodhue County Courthouse, 454 West 6th Street, Red Wing, MN  55066 (for respondent)


John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Paul J. Maravigli, Assistant State Public Defender, 2221 University Avenue Southeast, Suite 425, Minneapolis, MN  55414 (for appellant)


            Considered and decided by Klaphake, Presiding Judge, Randall, Judge, and Willis, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N


            Appellant Isaac Ayer Stafford challenges his conviction for fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, arguing that the district court did not make an adequate inquiry into his waiver of a jury trial, rendering the waiver invalid, and that the evidence was insufficient to sustain the conviction.  Because the district court’s query was adequate to establish that appellant voluntarily, knowingly, and personally waived his right to a jury trial, and because the victim’s testimony was sufficient to support the conviction, we affirm.


            Waiver of Jury Trial

              A defendant may waive a jury trial on the issues of guilt and aggravated sentencing by doing so personally, in writing or orally on the record in court, “after being advised by the court of the right to trial by jury and after having an opportunity to consult with counsel.”  Minn. R. Crim. P. 26.01, subd. 1(2)(a).  We review the interpretation of a rule of criminal procedure de novo as a question of law.  In re Welfare of M.E.M., 674 N.W.2d 208, 213 (Minn. App. 2004). 

            At a minimum, rule 26.01 requires the court to advise the defendant of the right to a jury trial and provide an opportunity for the defendant to consult with counsel.  State v. Osborne, 715 N.W.2d 436, 442 (Minn. 2006).  The court must be satisfied that the defendant’s waiver of the right to a jury trial was informed and voluntary.  Id.  The defendant must personally waive the right to a jury trial.  M.E.M., 674 N.W.2d at 213.

            Here, the district court began by stating on the record that the matter was scheduled for jury trial and asking whether appellant wanted a jury or court trial.  Appellant’s attorney stated that he had discussed the matter with appellant three or four times and that appellant had decided to waive a jury for both trial and sentencing.  The district court asked appellant directly if he intended to waive a jury, to which appellant responded that he did.  The court then asked appellant if he had any questions about the waiver, and appellant replied that he did not.

            This colloquy meets the minimum requirements for waiver of a jury trial under the rule:  appellant knew he could have a jury, he had an opportunity to consult with counsel, and he personally waived the right.  There was no error in permitting appellant to proceed with a trial to the court.

            Sufficiency of the Evidence

            This court reviews a sufficiency of the evidence challenge in the light most favorable to the verdict, to determine whether the facts and legitimate inferences drawn from the facts would permit the court, sitting without a jury, to conclude that the defendant was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  Davis v. State, 595 N.W.2d 520, 525 (Minn. 1999).  We assume that the factfinder believed the state’s witnesses and disbelieved the defendant’s witnesses.  State v. Vick, 632 N.W.2d 676, 690 (Minn. 2001).  The mere existence of inconsistencies in the evidence presented by the state is not a ground for reversing the jury’s verdict.  State v. Robinson, 604 N.W.2d 355, 366 (Minn. 2000).

            Appellant argues that the eyewitness identification of the victim, J.F., was inadequate because she testified that she did not look him in the eye, and suggests that some corroboration of J.F.’s testimony is necessary because she was the sole victim and sole eyewitness to the offense.  “In a prosecution under sections . . . 609.342 to 609.3451, . . . the testimony of a victim need not be corroborated.”  Minn. Stat. § 609.347, subd. 1 (Supp. 2005).  Thus, the state need not provide independent corroboration of the testimony of a victim of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct; rather, the issue is really one of credibility of the witnesses, which is the exclusive function of the factfinder.  State v. Folkers, 581 N.W.2d 321, 327 (Minn. 1998). 

            In any event, elements of J.F.’s testimony are supported by independent testimony: (1) appellant admitted to being in the library where the offense took place; (2) J.F.’s mother, B.F., testified that her daughter was scared and almost in tears when she ran into B.F.’s workplace moments after the encounter; (3) J.F. and B.F. returned to the library within a few minutes and passed appellant, whom J.F. immediately pointed out to B.F.; (4) B.F. told appellant to stay away from her daughter and rather than being surprised or denying any contact, appellant replied, “I didn’t do nothing”; (5) J.F. independently identified appellant in a photo line-up; and (6) although J.F. said she did not look appellant directly in the eye, he was sitting an arm’s length away from her in the library and she saw enough of his face to recognize it minutes later.

            The evidence here is sufficient to permit the district court to conclude that appellant was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.