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United States v. Wilkens

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

February 6, 2014

United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee
v.
Dean Earl Wilkens, Defendant - Appellant

Submitted October 24, 2013.

Page 355

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 356

Appeal from United States District Court for the District of Minnesota - St. Paul.

For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee: Clifford Ben Wardlaw, Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Saint Paul, MN.

For Dean Earl Wilkens, Defendant - Appellant: Marc G. Kurzman, KURZMAN & GRANT, Minneapolis, MN.

Dean Earl Wilkens, Defendant - Appellant, Pro se, Petersburg, VA.

Before LOKEN, GRUENDER, and SHEPHERD, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 357

SHEPHERD, Circuit Judge.

Dean Earl Wilkens was convicted after a jury trial of four counts of aggravated sexual abuse. Following his conviction, the district court[1] sentenced Wilkens to 360 months imprisonment. Wilkens appeals, claiming the court committed numerous trial errors and requesting the verdict be set aside and his conviction reversed or, in the alternative, that his sentence be vacated and the case remanded for a new trial. We affirm.

I.

In December 2011, a school social worker received an anonymous report that Wilkens was abusing a child residing in his home. At the time, Wilkens and his former wife, now known as Judith Jourdain, lived on the Red Lake Indian Reservation. Several children resided in their home, including the victims of the offenses of conviction, D.J. and T.J., who are Jourdain's biological grandchildren and Wilkens's step-grandchildren. L.B., a child involved in a count dismissed at trial, also resided in the home. L.B. is the biological grandchild of Jourdain and Wilkens. After receiving the information, the social worker interviewed D.J., who told her Wilkens had sexually abused her numerous times. The social worker reported D.J.'s disclosure to social services, and eventually the case was referred to the Family Advocacy Center of Northern Minnesota (FACNM), which provides forensic interviews and medical examinations of children. Nine of Jourdain and Wilkens's grandchildren residing in their home were sent for an evaluation at the FACNM. D.J., T.J., and L.B. all expressed in their interviews that Wilkens had sexually abused them.

Wilkens was charged with four counts of sexual assault and one count of abusive sexual conduct. Because the offenses occurred on the Red Lake Indian Reservation, he was charged with violating 18 U.S.C. § § 1151; 1153(a); 2241(c); and 2246(2)(A), (B), and (C). The count involving L.B., Count 5, was dismissed by the Government during trial after seven-year-old L.B. was unable to adequately answer questions posed to her.

Page 358

II.

Wilkens claims the trial court committed error by: (1) denying his motion to sever counts before and during trial; (2) excluding certain videotape evidence after his counsel focused on the evidence during closing argument; (3) striking Jourdain's testimony, including testimony of possible government threats made against her, after she invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination; (4) sustaining relevancy objections to testimony regarding the victims' sexual abuse history; and (5) ...


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