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State v. Morsette

Supreme Court of Montana

September 17, 2013

STATE OF MONTANA, Plaintiff and Appellee,
v.
ISAIAH MAURICE MORSETTE, Defendant and Appellant

Submitted on Briefs: August 7, 2013

APPEAL FROM: District Court of the Seventeenth Judicial District, In and For the County of Blaine, Cause No. DC 09-22 Honorable John C. McKeon, Presiding Judge

For Appellant:

Jennifer A. Hurley, Hurley Kujawa, PLLC, Butte, Montana

For Appellee:

Timothy C. Fox, Montana Attorney General; Jonathan M. Krauss, Assistant Attorney General, Helena, Montana

Donald A. Ranstrom, Blaine County Attorney, Chinook, Montana

Mike McGrath, Chief Justice

¶1 Morsette appeals from his June 2011 conviction of sexual intercourse without consent. We affirm.

¶2 Morsette raises the following issues on appeal:

¶3 1. Did the State violate Morsette's right to a speedy trial?

¶4 2. Did Morsette receive ineffective assistance of counsel when his attorney failed to object to evidence at trial?

¶5 3. Did the State violate Morsette's right to due process by using his silence after arrest against him at trial?

¶6 4. Is Morsette entitled to a new trial based upon cumulative error?

PROCEDURAL AND FACTUAL BACKGROUND

¶7 Morsette became the manager of a restaurant in Chinook, Montana, in June 2009. A s manager he supervised other employees, several of whom were teen-aged girls. In August 2009, one of those girls, a 15-year-old referred to as S.M., agreed to meet Morsette after work. He bought some alcohol and rented a motel room. S.M. testified that she and Morsette went to the motel room and drank until she lost consciousness. She testified that she later woke to find Morsette having intercourse with her. Two weeks later Morsette quit his job. That same day the restaurant owner met with several of the female employees and their mothers. During that meeting S.M. told the others that Morsette had sexually assaulted her. Morsette was arrested that day in Havre.

¶8 Morsette testified at trial that he often related inappropriately to the young female employees. H e admitted that he made overtly sexual remarks, offered to buy alcohol, talked about sneaking out, and suggested that they drink with him after work. He acknowledged this conduct and conceded that it was wrong. As to the incident with S.M., Morsette testified that at her request he bought a bottle of alcohol for her at a local bar, and that he then walked to a motel and rented a room for $50. He testified that he took a shower in the motel room and then went back to the restaurant to work the rest of his shift. He testified that after work he gave the alcohol to S.M. but then left her and walked to a bar. He testified that after he returned to the motel room to retrieve his identification, he stayed at the bar, drank and played pool. Morsette testified that after spending some time in the bar he drove to Havre to spend the night at a friend's house. He testified that at the time of his arrest he was "pretty shocked" and "didn't know what was going on."

¶9 In June 2011, a jury found Morsette guilty of sexual intercourse without consent pursuant to § 45-5-503, MCA. The District Court sentenced Morsette to the Montana State Prison for 35 years with 10 years suspended. Morsette appeals.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

ΒΆ10 The applicable standard of review will be noted in the ...


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