APPEAL FROM: District Court of the Sixteenth Judicial District, In and For the County of Custer, Cause No. DC-10-38 Honorable Gary L. Day, Presiding Judge
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice James C. Nelson
Submitted on Briefs: May 23, 2012
Decided: December 11, 2012
Justice James C. Nelson delivered the Opinion of the Court.
¶1 A Custer County jury found Richard Patterson guilty of two counts of sexual intercourse without consent and one count of sexual assault. Patterson appeals from the judgment entered against him by the Sixteenth Judicial District Court. We affirm.
¶2 The issues on appeal are:
¶3 1. Did the District Court's application of Montana's rape shield statute violate Patterson's right to a fair trial under the Montana and the United States Constitutions?
¶4 2. Did the District Court err in refusing to dismiss Counts I and IV on grounds that the State of Montana failed to prove venue?
¶5 In June of 2010, the State of Montana charged Richard Patterson with three counts of sexual intercourse without consent, one count of felony sexual assault, and one count of attempted sexual assault. The four victims all were acquaintances or friends of Patterson's, and all five charged events were alleged to have occurred at Patterson's home in Miles City, Montana. Count I alleged that on October 18, 2009, Patterson committed the offense of sexual intercourse without consent against A.K., who was then eleven years old. Count II alleged that on May 15, 2010, Patterson committed the offense of sexual intercourse without consent against T.P., an adult woman. Count III alleged that, in May of 2006, Patterson committed the offense of sexual intercourse without consent against J.L., an adult woman. Count IV alleged that in March of 2006, Patterson committed the offense of felony sexual assault against K.W., who was 11 years of age at that time. Count V alleged that, several months after the occurrence alleged in Count IV, Patterson committed the offense of felony attempted sexual assault against K.W.
¶6 Clothing worn on October 18, 2009, by A.K., the victim in Count I, was taken for forensic testing at the Montana State Crime Lab, including DNA testing of a stain discovered on A.K.'s shirt. The DNA testing excluded Patterson as a contributor to the stain, and attributed the stain to an unknown male. Before trial, the State filed a motion in limine based on Montana's rape shield statute, asking the District Court to preclude reference to, or evidence or testimony regarding, the DNA test of the stain on A.K.'s shirt. Patterson opposed the motion in limine, and the District Court heard oral argument on the matter. The court ultimately granted the State's motion and excluded from evidence at trial any mention of the test results concerning the stain on A.K.'s shirt. However, the court allowed evidence and argument that the clothing worn by A.K., and a vaginal swab from her person, were analyzed and that Patterson's DNA was not discovered in that testing.
¶7 The alleged victims all testified at the four-day jury trial, as did various law enforcement officers, A.K.'s and K.W.'s mothers, hospital emergency room personnel, Patterson's roommates, and two state forensic scientists. At the end of the State's case at trial, Patterson moved to dismiss ...