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State v. Leikvold

Court of Appeals of Iowa

September 27, 2017

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
DAREN THOMAS LEIKVOLD, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Sioux County, Duane E. Hoffmeyer, Judge.

         Daren Leikvold appeals following his conviction of third-degree sexual abuse. AFFIRMED.

          Martha M. McMinn, Sioux City, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Thomas J. Ogden, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Doyle and Bower, JJ.

          DOYLE, JUDGE.

         Daren Leikvold appeals following his conviction of third-degree sexual abuse. He contends there is insufficient evidence to support his conviction. He also challenges the trial court's ruling on the admissibility of impeachment evidence. Because sufficient evidence supports Leikvold's conviction and the trial court acted within its discretion in ruling on the admissibility of impeachment evidence, we affirm.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         The State charged Leikvold with two counts of third-degree sexual abuse after a twelve-year-old child alleged that Leikvold had vaginal intercourse with her on two occasions. Leikvold waived his right to a jury. Following the bench trial, the district court found him guilty on one count of third-degree sexual abuse.

         In reaching its verdict, the court noted the child "comes across as mature beyond her age." The court found that although the child "was interviewed several times during the investigation and was vigorously cross-examined for some length at the trial, " she "consistently described two incidents where [Leikvold] placed his penis into her vagina, once in [Leikvold's bed] and another in the lower twin bunk bed in her room." The court acknowledged that the medical evidence was inconclusive and that there were "some inconsistencies" between the child's "statements, interviews, deposition testimony, and trial testimony." However, the court found that "despite the lengthy and vigorous trial cross-examination, " the child's account was consistent in that "there was no deviation on the fact there was vaginal intercourse between herself and [Leikvold] that took place while her mother was gone on at least two occasions."

         Ultimately, the court concluded the evidence showed beyond a reasonable doubt that Leikvold had vaginal intercourse with the child on the child's bed between October 29, 2015, and January 24, 2016, " stating:

The court finds [the child]'s testimony to be credible and believable. Her testimony is corroborated by the statement of [Leikvold] and her mother that on these occasions she and her sister were alone with [Leikvold]. [The child]'s mother testified she was not aware [Leikvold] was lying with [the child] and did not believe it to be appropriate behavior. [The child]'s mother, on at least one occasion in the living room, told [Leikvold] the placement of his hand for the photograph was inappropriate. [The child]'s mother testified to [Leikvold] looking at computer pornography that involved young individuals. [The child] testified that after vaginal intercourse [Leikvold], on one occasion, returned to his computer. All parties testified [Leikvold] would oftentimes be up late at night on his computer. It was [Leikvold] being up late at night and early morning that he said led to him lying with [the child] so as to make sure he would wake up in the morning. Most importantly, the court finds [the child]'s testimony is corroborated by the DNA findings of [Leikvold]'s sperm on the sheets of her bed. The court finds the evidence to be sufficient and there need not be independent corroboration of every element. The court finds [Leikvold]'sbehavior and attitude towards [the child] could be viewed as grooming. The court finds [the child]'s cutting behavior could be the result of the inappropriate sex acts between herself and [Leikvold].

         The court also found that while it was "reasonably certain a sex act occurred between [the child] and [Leikvold] in his bedroom, " there was not proof beyond a reasonable doubt because "[t]he DNA corroboration is missing."

         II. Sufficiency ...


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