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State v. Taylor

Court of Appeals of Iowa

February 7, 2018

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
JACKIE B. TAYLOR, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Pottawattamie County, Richard H. Davidson (motion), and James S. Heckerman (trial), Judges.

         Jackie Taylor appeals following convictions for six counts of sexual abuse in the third degree and three counts of lascivious conduct with a minor. AFFIRMED.

          Mark C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Mary K. Conroy, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Louis S. Sloven, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Considered by Vogel, P.J., Bower, J., and Mahan, S.J. [*]

          MAHAN, Senior Judge.

         Jackie B. Taylor appeals following convictions for six counts of sexual abuse in the third degree[1] involving two alleged victims, S.Z. and C.W., and three counts of lascivious conduct with a minor, S.Z. Taylor argues the court abused its discretion in consolidating the cases involving the different minors, trial counsel was ineffective in numerous respects, and the sentence imposed was illegal and an abuse of discretion. Because we find no abuse of discretion in the court allowing the cases to be tried together, the record is not adequate to address the ineffectiveness claims, and the sentencing challenges are not ripe for review at this time, we affirm the convictions.

         I. Background Facts.

         Taylor lived in a residence with Connie and her husband, Kevin; Connie's daughter, Patty; and Connie's grandchildren, S.Z., C.W., and W.N. Though S.Z. and C.W. are biological siblings, S.Z. had lived with Connie most of her life and was adopted by Connie prior to the events at issue here. Taylor is not related to any of the others with whom he lived. He has lived with Connie since 2003, and Connie views Taylor as a father figure.

         On May 17, 2016, sixteen-year-old S.Z. arrived at school tearful and upset. She reported to the school counselor that Taylor was touching her inappropriately. The department of human services was contacted and an investigator asked S.Z. if she wanted to be taken back to Connie's. S.Z. stated she "didn't want to be molested anymore."

         When Detective Hayley Bloom spoke with Taylor about S.Z.'s allegations, Taylor stated "maybe when I hug her possibly. Accidently maybe hit her boob or something." Taylor told police he thought S.Z. might have fabricated the accusations because she wanted to live with her father and because she did not like her grandmother's rules.

         A few months after S.Z.'s allegations, police received a report that Taylor had abused S.Z.'s brother, C.W. C.W. had run away from Connie's residence in December 2015 when he was in ninth grade and was fifteen years old. C.W. hitchhiked to South Dakota, where he began to live with his biological father and stepmother. In August 2016, C.W. took his stepmother's vehicle and left a suicide note behind. He was located in Wyoming later that day where the vehicle had run out of gas. C.W. was hospitalized and while there disclosed he had been sexually abused when at his grandmother's house.

         In June 2016, the State charged Taylor concerning conduct related to S.Z.-two counts of sexual abuse in the third degree and three counts of lascivious acts with a minor. In August, the State charged Taylor concerning conduct related to C.W.-six counts of sexual abuse in the third degree, which was later amended to four counts.

         The State moved to consolidate the cases. Taylor objected, arguing the cases were unrelated, had different victims, and consolidation would be highly prejudicial to him. After a hearing, the court allowed consolidation.

         At trial, C.W. testified Taylor had abused him throughout seventh, eighth, and ninth grades (until C.W. left the final time). C.W. stated Taylor would use his hand to touch C.W.'s penis, which occurred on more than one occasion. Taylor also made C.W., on more than one occasion, use his hand to touch Taylor's penis. When C.W. would object, Taylor threatened to tell Connie that C.W. was hurting the other minors in the household. C.W. testified Taylor was the main reason he kept trying to run away.

         S.Z. testified Taylor was a grandfather figure. She testified he started touching her breasts when she was eleven years old and continued to do so until she was sixteen. S.Z. stated Taylor would touch her breasts with "[h]is hands and his mouth"; he would make her "[t]ake [her] shirt off and [her] bra, " to let him "see her breasts"; and Taylor would watch her shower at times. S.Z. testified that on at least two occasions Taylor touched her vagina with his fingers. She recounted the second time occurred "[o]n his chair in the living room" when she was "[m]aybe 15" and a freshman in high school. She stated Taylor used his fingers to touch her vagina and "his fingernails were very long" and "it hurt." She testified she told him to stop but he did not. Further, S.Z. testified that when she was thirteen or fourteen Taylor made S.Z. touch his penis with her hand. S.Z. stated Taylor told her she should take pictures of her breasts for him and that he wanted to "jump her bones." S.Z. also stated Taylor showed her pornography on his computer and offered to buy her a sex toy. Taylor told S.Z. that "he would get in a lot of trouble" if she told anyone, and she promised not to tell. S.Z. did not think Connie would believe her if she reported what happened. S.Z. said she "did not feel like [she] could say no to him."

         S.Z. testified Patty once asked her if anything was going on because Patty had seen Taylor touch S.Z.'s breast. S.Z. told Patty "nothing was happening" because S.Z. did not want Patty to know she was being abused. S.Z. had promised Taylor she would not tell, and she testified "it's not really right to break your promise."

         Patty testified she asked S.Z. about an incident when she observed Taylor touch S.Z.'s breast. S.Z. told her mother it was an accidental touching, and Patty did nothing more. When asked to describe what she saw, Patty stated, "[I]t was like a clockwise turn (indicating) and then he finished the rotation."

         Taylor testified and denied inappropriately touching either of the minors or having them touch him. As to Patty's observation of him touching S.Z.'s breast, he stated, "It would be virtually impossible" to cup S.Z.'s breast as ...


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