may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
Petros (NMN) Goumas,
File No. K29110259
Hubert H. Humphrey, III, Attorney General, 1400 NCL Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101, and
Robert M. A. Johnson, Anoka County Attorney, Marcy S. Crain, Assistant County Attorney, Anoka County Government Center, 2100 Third Avenue, Anoka, MN 55303-2265 (for respondent)
John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Marie L. Wolf, Assistant Public Defender, Suite 600, 2829 University Avenue, S.E., Minneapolis, MN 55414 (for appellant)
Petros Goumas, 4315 Bryant Avenue South, Apartment 14, Minneapolis, MN 55409 (pro se appellant)
Considered and decided by Harten, Presiding Judge, Short, Judge, and Amundson, Judge.
A jury convicted Petros (NMN) Goumas of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.345, subd. 1(b) (1996). On appeal, Goumas argues the evidence is insufficient to sustain his conviction. We affirm.
When evaluating the sufficiency of the evidence supporting a conviction, our review is limited to whether a jury could reasonably have found the defendant guilty of the charged offense. State v. Davidson, 481 N.W.2d 51, 58 (Minn. 1992). We view the evidence in the light most favorable to the verdict, and assume the jury believed the state's witnesses while disbelieving any contrary evidence. State v. McKenzie, 511 N.W.2d 14, 17 (Minn. 1994).
Goumas argues the evidence is insufficient to convict him of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct as a matter of law because the jury acquitted him of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. See Minn. Stat. § 609.344, subd. 1(b) (1996) (providing third-degree criminal sexual conduct requires sexual penetration); Minn. Stat. § 609.345, subd. 1(b) (1996) (providing fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct requires sexual contact). However, a defendant who is found guilty on one count of a two count complaint is not entitled to a new trial simply because the jury found him not guilty of the other count, even if the guilty and not guilty verdicts may be said to be logically inconsistent. State v. Juelfs, 270 N.W.2d 873, 873-74 (Minn. 1978); see e.g., State v. Thomas, 467 N.W.2d 324, 327 (Minn. App. 1991) (concluding jury's rendering inconsistent verdicts could show jury exercised leniency). Our focus on appeal is not on the inconsistency of the acquittal, but on whether there is sufficient evidence to sustain the guilty verdict. Nelson v. State, 407 N.W.2d 729, 731 (Minn. App. 1987) (citing United States v. Powell, 469 U.S. 57, 67, 105 S. Ct. 471, 478 (1984)), review denied (Minn. Aug. 12, 1987); see also Thomas, 467 N.W.2d at 327 (concluding inconsistent verdicts do not affect sufficiency of evidence on appeal).
Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the verdict, the record demonstrates: (1) at the time of the sexual contact, the victim was a fourteen-year-old ninth-grader and Goumas was thirty-three years old; (2) Goumas drove the victim to and from work; (3) Goumas thought the victim had "large breasts" and was "attractive"; (4) the victim described two occasions where Goumas stopped the car, touched her breasts, undid her pants, and ejaculated inside her; and (5) Goumas brushed against the victim at work. Given these facts, a jury could reasonably conclude Goumas was guilty of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct. See Minn. Stat. § 609.341, subd. 11 (1996) (defining sexual contact as intentional touching of complainant's intimate parts, including touching of clothing covering immediate area of intimate parts); see also State v. Kobow, 466 N.W.2d 747, 752 (Minn. App. 1991) (concluding testimony regarding sexual penetration sufficient to raise inference of sexual contact), review denied (Minn. Apr. 18, 1991).
In his pro se brief, Goumas argues the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction because the victim's trial testimony was inconsistent with the statement she provided to police. However, minor inconsistencies between prior statements and trial statements are not grounds for reversal. See, e.g., State v. Hamilton, 289 N.W.2d 470, 477 (Minn. 1979) (holding evidence sufficient to sustain guilty verdicts despite minor inconsistencies in state's case and relative inconclusiveness of supporting evidence). Furthermore, any inconsistencies between the victim's previous statements and her trial testimony were highlighted by Goumas's counsel and argued to the jury. See State v. Bias, 419 N.W.2d 480, 484 (Minn. 1988) (concluding jury determines credibility and weight given to testimony of individual witnesses); State v. Pieschke, 295 N.W.2d 580, 584 (Minn. 1980) (recognizing credibility determinative of witnesses is exclusive jury function, and concluding inconsistencies in state's case do not require reversal of jury verdict). After a careful review of the record, we conclude any inconsistency between the victim's account to the police and her trial testimony was minor, and its resolution was exclusively within the jury's province.