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State v. Jaquez

Court of Appeals of Iowa

February 19, 2014

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
JOSE FRANCISCO JAQUEZ, Defendant-Appellant

Editorial Note:

This opinion is subject to modification or correction by the court and is not final until the time for rehearing or further review has passed.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Louisa County, John M. Wright, Judge. Jose Francisco Jaquez appeals from his conviction for sexual abuse in the second degree following a jury trial in which the State's expert witness bolstered the credibility of the child witness.

Benjamin D. Bergman of Parrish Kruidenier Dunn Boles Gribble Gentry & Fisher, L.L.P., Des Moines, for appellant.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Katie Fiala, Assistant Attorney General, and David L. Matthews, County Attorney, for appellee.

Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Vaitheswaran and Potterfield, JJ.

OPINION

POTTERFIELD, J.

Jose Francisco Jaquez appeals from his conviction for sexual abuse in the second degree. He argues the district court erred by overruling his objection to an expert witness's statement in testimony and denying his motion for new trial on the basis of juror misconduct. He also argues that his conviction is supported by insufficient evidence. We reverse and remand for new trial.

I. Facts and Proceedings.

On April 13, 2012, the State charged Jaquez by trial information with one count of sexual abuse in the second degree of a child under the age of twelve. Before trial, Jaquez filed a motion in limine to prevent the State's expert witness, Kiesa Kay, who had interviewed the child, from testifying regarding the credibility of the child. The court granted the motion, stating " the State may not ask questions of the [expert] witness that would tend to give the impression to the jury that the jury should give more credibility to the . . . child witness's testimony."

During Kay's testimony at trial, the following exchange occurred between the prosecutor and the expert witness:

Q: . . . [W]hat was your impression of [the child] when you spoke to her? Basically, how did she appear emotionally? A: She was quiet and very polite . . . . She was not extremely emotionally expressive or upset. She was just very polite.
Q: In your experience in those prior interviews that you conducted, is that unusual that a child be not be overly emotional in that type of situation? A: Oh, no. Not at all. Her demeanor was completely consistent with a child who has been traumatized, particularly multiple times.

Counsel objected to the statement as nonresponsive and bolstering the credibility of the child witness. ...


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