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Johnson v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

April 10, 2014

MICHAEL JOHNSON, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
STATE OF INDIANA, Appellee-Plaintiff

Page 492

APPEAL FROM THE MARION SUPERIOR COURT. The Honorable Lisa F. Borges, Judge. Cause No. 49G04-1301-FB-1370.

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: FREDERICK VAIANA, Indianapolis, Indiana.

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: GREGORY F. ZOELLER, Attorney General of Indiana; KATHERINE MODESITT COOPER, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, Indiana.

PYLE, Judge. MATHIAS, J., concurs. BRADFORD, J., concurs in result with opinion.

OPINION

Page 493

PYLE, Judge.

STATEMENT OF THE CASE

Michael Johnson (" Johnson" ) appeals his convictions for: (1) Class B felony criminal confinement; [1] (2) Class B felony criminal confinement; (3) Class B felony rape; [2] (4) Class C felony battery; [3] (5) Class D felony intimidation; [4] (6) Class D felony strangulation; [5] and (7) Class A misdemeanor interfering with the reporting of a crime.[6]

We affirm.

ISSUES

1. Whether Johnson knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently waived his right to a jury trial on all of his charges.
2. Whether the trial court abused its discretion in denying Johnson the right to cross-examine the victim about past sexual conduct.
3. Whether the State presented sufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Johnson committed Class B felony rape and Class D felony intimidation.

FACTS

As of January 2013, Johnson had been in a relationship with his girlfriend, I.B., for seven years and had lived with her in Marion County, Indiana since the previous September. On January 4, 2013, Johnson and I.B. spent the day together but then separated. I.B. told Johnson she was going to go back to their home, but instead she went out and did not return home until 3:00 or 4:00 a.m. the next morning. When she returned, Johnson was asleep and I.B. got into bed.

At that point, Johnson got up and " started going crazy," accusing I.B. of cheating on him with their neighbor. (Tr. 17). He called her " a nasty bitch" and began " talking shit." (Tr. 18). I.B. denied his accusations and told him that he could call the neighbor if he wanted to verify that she had not cheated on him. In response, Johnson continued to yell at I.B., including the statement: " Bitch, you're a fuckin' liar. Crack head." (Tr. 18). Then he poured a beer on her and told her to leave the house.

When I.B. refused to leave, Johnson grabbed her by the hair and began punching her. Johnson punched her head more times than she could count. I.B. told him to stop and that she had not cheated on

Page 494

him, but Johnson did not stop. Although I.B. " felt like [she] was about to die" and told Johnson that she was about to pass out, Johnson responded " I don't give a fuck bitch." (Tr. 21). As a result of the blows, I.B. felt " pain" and " dizziness." (Tr. 22). Johnson then threw her from one side of the bed to the other and grabbed her throat. I.B. gestured that she could not breathe, but Johnson continued to hold her by the throat with one hand and punch her with his other hand.

Johnson finally released I.B. and told her to call the people with whom she had spent the evening. He also told her that he had received a text message picture of her naked with somebody else. When I.B. asked to see the picture, though, Johnson would not show it to her. I.B. called the people as Johnson had requested, but she was not able to reach anyone. After I.B.'s attempted calls, Johnson took her phone away and did not give it back to her for the rest of the night.

Subsequently, Johnson began punching I.B. again and told her " how much he hated [her]" and how she had " destroyed his life." (Tr. 25). I.B. tried to block Johnson's punches by taking a fetal position on the floor, yet Johnson continued to punch her, causing bruises on her arms. He also punched her head and kicked her in the eye. I.B. repeatedly asked Johnson to stop, but he did not.

Next, Johnson pulled I.B. up by her hair and ripped off her clothing. He dragged her across the room and threw her down the steps, telling her: " Bitch, get the fuck out of my house." (Tr. 31). At that point, I.B. was in extreme pain, which she rated as a " ten" on a scale of one to ten. (Tr. 31). She attempted to come back up the steps, but Johnson threw her back down again and then dragged her through their kitchen, dining room, and living room. Throughout this time, Johnson continued to hit I.B. She attempted to hold onto the couch but lost her grip, and Johnson threw her outside. I.B. was not wearing any clothes and was " freezing cold" because there was snow on the ground. (Tr. 34).

I.B. saw one of her neighbors coming down the street in a van and ran to the van to get help. She told the neighbor " Help me. Help me. He's about to kill me," and asked the neighbor to call the police. (Tr. 34). Johnson, however, came around the van and told the driver, " Man, she's just drunk." (Tr. 35). In response, the driver rolled up his window and told I.B. that he could not help her. I.B. then continued to run down the street and came across another car. She asked the people in the car for help, but Johnson said that they should " [m]ind [their] business," and they left. (Tr. 36).

Johnson grabbed I.B. and led her back inside. He told her to " [g]et [her] ass in the shower," but he had to help her into the shower because she was too injured to get in by herself. (Tr. 37). During the shower, I.B. kept blacking out and had trouble standing. Afterwards, Johnson helped her out and told her to go to bed. Once she was in bed, he told her to " turn around" because he wanted to have sex with her. (Tr. 39). I.B. said that she did not want to have sex, but Johnson told her again to turn around. I.B. did what Johnson had asked because she was " afraid" and " didn't want to get beat[en] [any] more." (Tr. 40, 41). Johnson and I.B. had intercourse, and, afterwards, I.B. attempted to sleep but had trouble because she was in too much pain. Instead of sleeping, she kept falling in and out of consciousness like she had in the shower.

The next morning, Johnson started crying and apologized to I.B. for his actions the night before, and I.B. believed that Johnson was sorry. She and Johnson again had sex, and this time it was consensual.

Page 495

Later that day, they both went to pick up furniture for their house. Throughout that time, I.B. was " [i]n so much pain" and had marks and bruises on her arms, face, head, and legs. (Tr. 44). ...


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