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State v. Dudley

Court of Appeals of Iowa

February 5, 2014

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
PATRICK MICHAEL DUDLEY, Defendant-Appellant

Editorial Note:

This decision has been referenced in a "Decisions Without Published Opinions" table in the North Western Reporter.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Marion County, Darrell J. Goodhue, Judge. Patrick Dudley appeals his judgment and sentence for two counts of second-degree sexual abuse.

Kent A. Simmons, Davenport, for appellant.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Sheryl A. Soich, Assistant Attorney General, Ed Bull, County Attorney, and Nicole Olson, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee.

Heard by Danilson, C.J., and Vaitheswaran and Mullins, JJ. Goodhue, S.J., takes no part.

OPINION

VAITHESWARAN, J.

Patrick Dudley appeals his judgment and sentence for two counts of second-degree sexual abuse. He raises several arguments in support of reversal, one of which we find dispositive: whether the district court abused its discretion in admitting a psychologist's opinion that a child's physical manifestations and symptoms " were consistent with a child dealing with sexual abuse trauma."

I. Background Facts and Proceedings

Patrick Dudley and his wife took their nine-year-old granddaughter to visit a friend. After returning from the trip, the child told her mother that Dudley molested her.

The State charged Dudley with two counts of second-degree sexual abuse. Dudley moved to enforce a claimed agreement with the prosecutor to dismiss the charges if he passed a polygraph test before the prosecutor spoke to the complaining witness. Following a hearing at which Dudley's attorney testified, the district court denied the motion. The court concluded the prosecutor's offer was withdrawn before Dudley took the polygraph test.

Prior to trial, Dudley filed a motion in limine challenging proposed testimony from the complaining witness's psychologist, Mary Casey. Dudley argued that Casey would impermissibly vouch for the child's credibility. The district court denied the motion.

At trial, the State called several witnesses, including the child, the child's mother, the psychologist, and a neighbor to whom the child narrated the incident. Before the psychologist testified, the child's mother painted a " before and after" picture of the child, stating she changed from a " girly girl" to " more of a tomboy." She recounted that the child turned white when she saw the cars her grandfather drove.

Dudley testified and denied the allegations. Following trial, the jury found Dudley guilty ...


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