Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Jarrett

Court of Appeals of Iowa

February 21, 2018

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
JOSHUA JARRETT, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Buchanan County, Bradley J. Harris, Judge.

         Defendant appeals his convictions and sentences for sexual abuse in the second degree and sexual abuse in the third degree. AFFIRMED.

          Clemens A. Erdahl II of Nidey Erdahl Fisher Pilkington & Meier, P.L.C., Cedar Rapids, and Eric D. Tindal of Keegan and Farnsworth, Iowa City, for appellant.

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

          Considered by Potterfield, P.J., McDonald, J., and Blane, S.J. [*]

          BLANE, Senior Judge.

         Joshua Jarrett appeals his convictions and sentences for sexual abuse in the second degree and sexual abuse in the third degree, following a jury trial and guilty verdicts.[1] He asserts the trial court erred (1) in denying admission of the video-recorded interview of the complaining witness; (2) in failing to grant his motion for judgment of acquittal based upon insufficient evidence and lack of corroboration of the victim's sexual assault testimony; (3) in incorrect evidentiary rulings, which denied him the opportunity to present his theory of defense; and (4) in failing to grant his objections during closing arguments that the prosecutor engaged in a Graves violation by placing the burden on Jarrett to prove the complaining witness had lied. Based upon our review of these claims, we find no error and affirm.

         I. Procedural background.

         On September 12, 2014, Jarrett was charged by trial information with four counts of sexual abuse in the second degree in violation of Iowa Code sections 709.1 and 709.3(2) (2014)[2]; four counts of sexual abuse in the third degree in violation of Iowa Code section 709.4(2)(b); and flight to avoid prosecution in violation of Iowa Code section 719.4(4). Before trial, the State amended the trial information to allege one count of sexual abuse in the second degree (count I), one count of sexual abuse in the third degree (count II), as well as the flight to avoid prosecution (count III). On October 26, 2015, a jury returned guilty verdicts as to all three counts submitted to it.

         Jarrett filed a motion for new trial and, following a hearing, the motion was denied. He was sentenced to twenty-five years on count I; ten years on count II; and five years on count III. The court ordered counts I and II to be served consecutively and count III concurrently with counts I and II. Jarrett then timely filed a notice of appeal.

         II. Factual background.

         H.K. was known to Jarrett through H.K.'s mother. H.K.'s father is deceased; he died when H.K. was six years old. According to H.K., Jarrett first made her manually stimulate him shortly after her father's death. H.K. did not tell her mother about this incident because Jarrett told her not to. On another occasion, when H.K. was eight years old, Jarrett made her perform oral sex on him. Again, H.K. did not disclose the abuse to her mother because Jarrett told H.K. not to and because she did not want her mother to be upset.

         The sex acts that Jarrett made H.K. perform eventually progressed from manual and oral stimulation to anal and vaginal intercourse. If H.K. resisted, Jarrett would "be terrible" to H.K.'s mother afterwards. Jarrett initiated sexual encounters with H.K. more frequently as she grew older. At trial, when asked how many times Jarrett had sexual contact with her, H.K. responded it was "way too many to count."

         When H.K. was in fifth grade she was provided a cell phone. Jarrett began to initiate sexual contact by sending H.K. text messages after her bedtime. H.K. testified about the content of the messages, stating they would say, "'Come meet me after your mom is asleep' or 'Come meet me in the living room' or 'Come meet me' wherever."

         According to H.K., one night, when she was fourteen, Jarrett sent her a text message after her bedtime to "[c]ome get me after your mother is asleep." H.K.'s mother saw H.K.'s phone light up when she received that message, and the mother grabbed the phone from H.K.'s hand. The mother read the text message, along with all of the other text messages from Jarrett to H.K. that told her to meet him after bedtime in various locations. H.K.'s mother and H.K. had a conversation outside of Jarrett's presence; H.K. told her mother that "since the age of 6 . . . he would make [her] have vaginal, anal, and oral sex with him and that he would make [her] masturbate him." H.K. was crying throughout her disclosure, and her mother was also upset. The mother confronted Jarrett. No one reported the abuse. H.K.'s mother made sure Jarrett was not alone with H.K., and Jarrett had no further sexual contact with H.K. from that point on.

         H.K. reported the sexual abuse to law enforcement in August 2014. When Jarrett learned that the police were looking for him to investigate H.K.'s reports of sexual abuse, he fled from the state-to Kansas, North Carolina, Colorado, and finally Texas, where he was apprehended.

         At trial, H.K.'s mother denied that H.K. had disclosed the sexual abuse when she caught Jarrett sending her the text message. Even so, she acknowledged that after that incident, she did not allow Jarrett and H.K. to be alone together. Jarrett did not deny that he sent the text messages to H.K. and also did not deny that H.K.'s mother confronted him about it, but he claimed he told her "it was nothing" and she should "just let it go."

         At trial, the defense sought to introduce evidence concerning H.K. being suicidal and under the influence of drugs and alcohol when she first told about the sexual abuse. The court did not allow the evidence on the basis that it was irrelevant. The defense also attempted to question H.K. about her false claim to her employer that she had a brain tumor and needed to visit relatives in Davenport rather than be at work, but the court sustained the prosecution's objection and disallowed the question.

         During the State's closing and rebuttal arguments, defense counsel objected that the prosecutor was violating the Graves case and shifting the burden of proof to Jarrett. The court overruled the objections. The defense raised the issues again in its motion for new trial, which the court denied.

         Additional facts will be discussed when relevant.

         III. Discussion.

         A. Whether the trial court erred in denying admission of the previously video-recorded interview of H.K.?

         In late 2010, the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) investigated a report by a female juvenile regarding sexual abuse by Jarrett. Arising out of this investigation, in January 2011, the Child Protective Center (CPC) conducted a video-recorded interview with H.K. During the interview, H.K., who was fourteen years old at that time, denied any sexual abuse by Jarrett. H.K. testified at Jarrett's trial during the State's case-in-chief and described the years of sexual abuse by Jarrett. Jarrett's defense ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.