State of Utah v. Williams,Annotate this Case
IN THE UTAH COURT OF APPEALS
State of Utah,
Plaintiff and Appellee,
Christopher Lee Williams,
Defendant and Appellant.
(Not For Official Publication)
Case No. 20000725-CA
F I L E D
(November 29, 2001)
2001 UT App 360
Third District, Salt Lake Department
The Honorable Homer F. Wilkinson
Catherine E. Lilly, Salt Lake City, for Appellant
Mark L. Shurtleff and Erin Riley, Salt Lake City, for Appellee
Before Judges Bench, Davis, and Orme.
Although raised as an ineffective assistance of counsel claim, this appeal ultimately presents a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence. In reviewing a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence,
we review the evidence and all inferences which may reasonably be drawn from it in the light most favorable to the verdict of the jury. Under this standard, we will reverse a conviction only when the evidence . . . is sufficiently inconclusive or inherently improbable that reasonable minds must have entertained a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime of which he
. . . was convicted.
State v. Widdison, 2000 UT App 185,&16, 4 P.3d 100 (citations and internal quotations omitted). The evidence in this case supports the jury's verdict.
To convict Defendant of rape of a child, the State had to show that Defendant had sexual intercourse with a child under the age of fourteen. See Utah Code Ann. ' 76-5-402.1 (1999). The victim testified that Defendant inserted his penis into her vagina when she was thirteen years old. Although the victim's testimony alone was enough evidence to establish the elements of the crime and support the jury's verdict, see State v. Archuleta, 747 P.2d 1019, 1021 (Utah 1987), it was corroborated by her diary entry and the testimony of her friends.
To convict Defendant of sexual abuse of a child, the State had to show that Defendant "touch[ed] the . . . genitalia of any child . . . or otherwise t[ook] indecent liberties with a child, or caus[ed] a child to take indecent liberties with the [Defendant] . . . with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person." Utah Code Ann. ' 76-5-404.1 (1999). The victim testified that Defendant asked her to "jack him off" so that he could "come." The victim further testified that when she expressed confusion, Defendant put her hands on his penis and commenced a rubbing motion. Again, while the victim's testimony alone established the elements of the crime, including intent, it is also supported by corroborating evidence.
In contrast to the evidence supporting the verdict, Defendant merely reasserts his own version of the facts and contends the evidence shows that the victim has both a propensity to lie in general and a motive to lie about her encounter with Defendant. These arguments are not persuasive on appeal because "[i]t is the exclusive function of the jury to weigh the evidence and to determine the credibility of the witnesses. So long as there is some evidence, including reasonable inferences, from which findings of all the requisite elements of the crime can reasonably be made, our inquiry stops." State v. Boyd, 2001 UT 30,&16, 25 P.3d 985 (quotations and citations omitted) (emphasis omitted) (alteration in original). Defendant also points out inconsistencies between the victim's trial testimony and previous statements. While the victim may have provided inconsistent accounts regarding minor details of the encounter, they were not relevant to establishing the elements of the crimes.
Because we conclude that the evidence was sufficient to support Defendant's convictions, we reject Defendant's ineffective assistance of counsel argument. The judgment is therefore affirmed.
Russell W. Bench, Judge
James Z. Davis, Judge
Gregory K. Orme, Judge