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State of Iowa v. Johnnie Lee Gray

May 15, 2013

STATE OF IOWA, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
JOHNNIE LEE GRAY, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Patrick R. Grady, Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Vaitheswaran, P.J.

Johnnie Gray appeals his judgment and sentence for third-degree sexual abuse. AFFIRMED.

Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Tabor and Mullins, JJ.

Johnnie Gray appeals his judgment and sentence for third-degree sexual abuse. He contends there is insubstantial evidence to support the jury's finding of guilt. State v. Hennings, 791 N.W.2d 828, 832-33 (Iowa 2010) (setting forth standard of review). In the context of that argument, he also asserts that admissions he made to a police investigator were not adequately corroborated. See Iowa R. Crim. P. 2.21(4) ("The confession of the defendant, unless made in open court, will not warrant a conviction, unless accompanied with other proof that the defendant committed the offense.").

The jury was instructed the State would have to prove the following elements of sexual abuse in the third degree:

1. On or about the 19th day of October, 2009, the defendant performed a sex act with [P.H.].

2. The defendant performed the sex act by force or against the will of [P.H.].

The jury was further instructed on the meaning of "by force or against the will":

Concerning element Number 2 . . . the State must prove that the defendant committed a sex act "by force or against the will" of [P.H.]. In order to do so, however, the State does not have to prove that [P.H.] physically resisted the defendant's acts. The force used by the defendant does not have to be physical. If the consent or acquiescence of the other is procured by threats of violence towards any person or if the act is done while the other is under the influence of drug inducing sleep or is otherwise in a state of unconsciousness, the act is done against the will of the other.

You may consider all of the circumstances surrounding the defendant's act in deciding whether the act was done by force or against the will of [P.H].

In a recorded police interview, Gray admitted he had sex with P.H. The key question was whether the sex was by force or against P.H.'s will. On this question, the jury could have found the following facts.

P.H. testified that she and Gray had been "drinking buddies" for about six years. During that time, they had no romantic or physical relationship. One afternoon, P.H. spent the afternoon drinking with Gray. Also present was Gray's neighbor.

In time, the neighbor returned to his apartment. Gray and P.H. went to Gray's apartment, and P.H. consumed drugs. P.H. realized she was in no shape to make it home safely and ...


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