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Washington v. Guizzotti

January 17, 1991

THE STATE OF WASHINGTON, RESPONDENT,
v.
JAMES VINCENT GUIZZOTTI, APPELLANT



Alexander, J. Petrich, A.c.j., and Draper, J. Pro Tem., concur.

Author: Alexander

James Vincent Guizzotti appeals a judgment and sentence of the Clark County Superior Court which was entered after a jury found Guizzotti guilty of third degree rape. Guizzotti contends that the trial court erred in (1) precluding him from cross examining the complaining witness/victim about her representation by her

own attorney at the criminal proceedings; (2) admitting into evidence a tape recording of the "911" emergency call made by the victim; and (3) denying defendant's motion for mistrial based upon prosecutorial misconduct. We affirm.*fn1

On September 30, 1987, Guizzotti was charged in Clark County Superior Court with second degree rape. Thereafter, Guizzotti's counsel entered into a stipulation with the prosecutor to permit the victim's attorney, Ms. Rons, to be present at counsel table with the deputy prosecutor during the criminal trial. The victim's attorney was not to be introduced to the jury. The State then moved in limine

that there be no discussion by [defense] counsel that Ms. Rons is an attorney for the victim in this case, and especially in view of your Honor's ruling that she not be introduced. Therefore, it would be inappropriate for counsel to raise it and not relevant in any respect.

The defense attorney replied:

Your Honor, we think that it is relevant, and it is, in fact, obvious that they are not afraid of demonstrating [ sic ]. Certainly, at some point the jury is going to know who Ms. Rons is and that would be natural, and we don't need to have her formally introduced. The fact is that it is certainly unusual, and it would go to bias of the alleged victim insofar as being somewhat indicative of their interest in litigating the matter civilly, perhaps after the conclusion of the criminal aspect.

The trial court granted the State's motion.

At trial, the victim testified that on the evening of September 1, 1987, Guizzotti invited her to go on a boat ride with him. She said that after the boat ride, Guizzotti attempted to kiss her, and when she refused, he proceeded to straddle her and grab at her skirt. According to the victim, he ultimately raped her.

The victim disclosed, further, that during the course of the assault, Guizzotti asked her "whether she liked it," to which she replied, "yes." She said that Guizzotti responded,

"Too bad this is going to be your last time." He went on to say, according to the victim, "I bet that you're just picturing yourself floating around in the river, don't [ sic ] you?" She said that at this time she feared for her life.

The victim went on to testify that she eventually was allowed to get dressed and leave the boat. She then ran up a gangplank and into a boatyard where she hid under a tarp behind a building. She stated that Guizzotti followed her into the boatyard and called out her name. The victim said that she could hear the sound of someone walking around the boatyard, and that at one point someone lifted up the tarp on the opposite side of where she was hiding. The ...


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