may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
State of Minnesota,
Robert George Israel,
Filed December 29, 1998
Rock County District Court
File No. K496248
Donald R. Klosterbuer, Rock County Attorney, Courthouse, 204 East Brown, Luverne, MN 56156 (for respondent)
John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Lawrence W. Pry, Assistant Public Defender, 2829 University Avenue Southeast, Suite 600, Minneapolis, MN 55414 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Peterson, Presiding Judge, Schumacher, Judge, and Harten, Judge.
Robert George Israel appeals his conviction of two counts of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.342, subd. 1(a) (1996), and one count of criminal sexual conduct in the second degree in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.343, subd. 1(a) (1996), challenging the admission of an out-of-court statement by the child complainant. We affirm.
Israel was accused of sexually abusing seven-year-old A.C. The initial out-of court interview of A.C. was videotaped, but the police later inadvertently taped over it. A.C. was interviewed again to make a second videotape.
Israel made a pretrial motion to suppress both of A.C.'s out-of-court statements. The district court determined the statements of the first interview were admissible but reserved decision on the admissibility of the videotape of the second interview. The court ultimately admitted the videotape. A.C. also testified at trial.
The jury found Israel guilty of two counts of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree and one count of criminal sexual conduct in the second degree. Israel appeals.
1. Rulings on admission of evidence generally rest within the discretion of the trial court and will not be reversed absent a clear abuse of that discretion. State v. Ashby, 567 N.W.2d 21, 25 (Minn. 1997). Whether hearsay statements possess particular guarantees of trustworthiness, however, is a question of law, which we review de novo. State v. Salazar, 504 N.W.2d 774, 776-77 (Minn. 1993) (citing Idaho v. Wright, 497 U.S. 805, 814-17, 110 S. Ct. 3139, 3145-48 (1990)).
Minn. Stat. § 595.02, subd. 3 (1996), allows the admission of an out-of-court statement by "a child under the age of ten years * * * alleging, explaining, denying, or describing any act of sexual contact or penetration performed with or on the child" if it has sufficient indicia of reliability. Id. A.C. was under the age of ten, both when she made her statements and when she testified in court, and therefore her testimony falls within the limits of the statute. Israel argues the second videotaped statement lacks sufficient indicia of reliability.
The court must look to the totality of the circumstances surrounding the statement to decide if there are sufficient indicia of reliability.
These circumstances include, but are not limited to, whether the statements made were spontaneous, whether the person talking with the child had a preconceived idea of what the child should say, whether the statements were in response to leading or suggestive questions, whether the child had any apparent motive to fabricate, and whether the statements are the type of statements one would expect a child of that age to fabricate.
State v. Lanam, 459 N.W.2d 656, 661 (Minn. 1990) (citing Idaho v. Wright, 497 U.S. 805, 820-21, 110 S. Ct. 3135, 3149-52 (1990)), cert. denied, 498 U.S. 1033 (1991). Here, the interviewer did not ask suggestive or leading questions. Although she had some idea of what A.C. would say because she had already interviewed her, this court has declined in the past to find that such knowledge alone will make a statement untrustworthy. See, e.g., State v. Goldenstein, 505 N.W.2d 332, 344 (Minn. App. 1993) (holding that although therapist knew of abuse allegations, statement was still trustworthy), review denied (Minn. Oct. 19, 1993). In addition, the specific methods for interviewing child victims of sexual abuse that were followed in this case have been accepted as particularly reliable by this court in the past. See State v. Danforth, 573 N.W.2d 369, 375 (Minn. App. 1997), review denied (Minn. Feb. 19, 1998).
The record contains no evidence that A.C. had any motive to fabricate her story. A.C.'s statements remained mainly consistent. See Danforth, 573 N.W.2d at 375 (consistency is factor in determining reliability of statement made by child victim of sexual abuse).
Israel claims that because the sole purpose of the second interview was to "recreate" the first interview, the statement was unreliable. We agree that repetitive, leading questions in an interview of a young child generally makes the child's statement less reliable. See State v. Larson, 472 N.W.2d 120, 128 (Minn. 1991) ("tag-team" style interviewing by police using leading questions makes reliability of child sexual abuse victim's statement questionable). The circumstances in this case, however, do not reflect that type of interview. The same person conducted the interviews several months apart. Israel concedes that the questions were not leading. We find sufficient indicia of reliability for admission of the videotape.
2. Israel raises additional issues in his pro se supplemental brief, but he makes no legal arguments and cites no supporting authority. This court is not required to address issues unsupported by legal argument. Gonguli v. University of Minn., 512 N.W.2d 918, 919 n.1 (Minn. App. 1994) (court declines to address allegations unsupported by legal analysis or citation).