Appeal from Superior Court of Island County. Docket No: 94-8-00163-5. Date filed: 08/24/95.
Authored by Ann L. Ellington. Concurring: William W. Baker, Faye C. Kennedy.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ellington
ELLINGTON, J. -- J.L.F. was convicted of second degree rape. On the first day of trial, he moved for a continuance to locate "Romeo," who had accompanied him to the victim's home on the night of the rape. The trial court did not err when it denied the motion because J.L.F. failed to show why Romeo's testimony was important or why Romeo could not have been found earlier. Nor did the trial court err in making certain evidentiary rulings. We affirm.
One night in the spring or early summer of 1994, L.Y. and her friend, Sacha Craft, were at L.Y.'s home, when J.L.F. and a companion, "Romeo," knocked on the door. L.Y. opened the door and the two boys entered. She asked them to leave, but J.L.F. said he wanted to speak to her alone, so she led him into her bedroom. Once inside, he closed the door, turned off the lights, then pushed against her. She pushed him away and tried to leave, but Romeo was outside, holding the door closed. Eventually Romeo let go of the door, and L.Y. went out and got a curling iron, which she threatened to burn J.L.F. with. J.L.F. grabbed her wrist and threw the curling iron across the room. Then he pushed her to the floor, put his knees on her wrists, and, while he held her head with his hands, put his penis into her mouth. She resisted, and when J.L.F. took his knees off her wrists, L.Y. pushed him away and left the room.
J.L.F. was charged by information with one count of second degree rape and one count of indecent liberties. *fn1 Before trial, J.L.F.'s counsel moved for a continuance because the State's witnesses had refused to talk to her. The court ordered the State to cooperate in allowing the defense to interview the witnesses and to inform the witnesses to cooperate with defense requests to interview them, but did not continue the trial. Defense counsel interviewed the remaining witnesses the weekend before trial.
On the first day of trial, J.L.F. again moved for a continuance. His counsel claimed she had learned from the State's witnesses over the weekend there could be other witnesses she had not known about who could impeach L.Y.'s testimony. She also claimed she had learned "Romeo" was not the true name of the person who was present when J.L.F. allegedly raped L.Y, and that Romeo had moved to Nashville. Defense counsel claimed Romeo might be able to provide J.L.F. with an alibi. The court reserved ruling on the motion until after the State presented its case, but when J.L.F. renewed the motion after the State rested, the court denied it.
On cross examination, the defense attempted to elicit testimony from Alicia Johnson that L.Y.'s reputation for honesty among the community was bad:
Q. Do you know about [L.Y.]'s reputation for honesty?
Q. And what is that reputation for honesty?
A. Oh. People that I talk about said she does really lie that much. Certain things, I admit she would lie about. The answer was stricken as non-responsive and, after counsel rephrased the question a few times, Johnson said she did not know what L.Y.'s reputation for honesty was.
The court found J.L.F. guilty of second ...