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State v. Woods

Court of Appeals of Washington, Division 1

April 3, 2017

STATE OF WASHINGTON, Respondent,
v.
EURAN J. WOODS, Appellant.

         PUBLISHED OPINION

          Dwyer, J.

         Euran Woods appeals from the judgment entered on a jury's verdict finding him guilty of assault in the second degree pursuant to RCW 9A.36.021(1)(g), assault by strangulation. On appeal, Woods contends that the trial court erred by admitting evidence that he had previously promoted the prostitution of the victim, Brittany Englund. Woods also contends that his counsel was ineffective for failing to object to the admission of the pimping evidence and for failing to request a limiting instruction. Finding no error, we affirm.

         I

         Woods and Englund began their volatile relationship in 2009. At that time, Woods and Englund sold drugs together and Englund herself was addicted to drugs. As Englund's drug addiction grew, so did her dependency on Woods- who exploited this dependency to isolate Englund from her friends and family. In addition to being emotionally abusive, Woods physically abused Englund throughout their relationship.

         In 2011, Woods began forcing Englund to prostitute herself. Initially, Woods would purchase clothing for Englund and leave her on the street with instructions regarding where to locate customers and the amount of money that she should collect in exchange for various sexual activities. After Englund was abducted by one customer and forced to jump out of his moving vehicle to escape, she pleaded with Woods to let her stop. Woods then decided to market Englund by listing her on Backpage.com. Woods conditioned Englund to comply with his demands by convincing her that her life of prostitution was only temporary and that one day they would both have normal jobs and be happy together.

         Englund argued with Woods regarding the prostitution several times. On one occasion in August of 2011, Woods noticed that Englund had silenced the cell phone that Woods used to take calls from men seeking to sexually exploit Englund. Woods and Englund argued and Woods strangled Englund until she passed out. Englund did not inform the police or her family of the abuse or prostitution both out of fear that Woods would retaliate and because she felt that Woods loved her and was sorry.

         Woods strangled Englund again in September of 2011. On the day in question, Englund had an abortion and then returned home to be with Woods. That night, Woods left, only to return home at 3:00 a.m. accompanied by three women. Woods told Englund to stay in the bedroom. Hours later, after Woods fell asleep, Englund looked at Woods' cell phone and discovered that he had been taking pictures with the women. Englund awakened Woods and confronted him about the pictures. Woods then threw Englund across the room, kicked her, stomped on her, and strangled her until she passed out. Woods later apologized to Englund, who decided to not call the police.

         Englund went to her mother's house for a birthday party a few days later. Englund was anxious about her family discovering what was going on in her life and, at one point during the visit, she went upstairs and began crying. When Englund's mother went to check on her, Englund showed her mother the bruises around her neck and told her what had happened. Englund did not want to inform the police-she was in love with Woods, did not believe that he would hurt her again, and did not think that the police would believe her because of her own criminal history.

         In April of 2012, Woods again assaulted Englund. Woods refused to allow Englund to leave their apartment or call for help following the assault. Three days later, Woods left the apartment and Englund was able to telephone her mother, who drove her to the hospital. Police officers interviewed Englund at the hospital. Englund disclosed the 2011 assaults for the first time during a subsequent interview with a police detective.[1]

         The State charged Woods by amended information with one count of assault in the second degree for the September 2011 strangulation, with a special allegation that the assault was committed against a family or household member-a crime of domestic violence pursuant to RCW 10.99.020. The jury found Woods guilty and the sentencing court imposed a standard-range sentence of nine months of incarceration and twelve months of community custody. Woods timely appealed.

         Woods was represented by attorney Eugene Piculell at trial. After filing a notice of appeal, Mr. Piculell filed an Anders[2] brief with this court, stating than an appeal in this matter would present nothing other than legally frivolous issues. The State moved to strike the Anders brief. We directed attorney Piculell to file an answer to the State's motion. Instead, Mr. Piculell withdrew from the case. We appointed attorney James Womack to represent Woods. Mr. Womack fully briefed the case, we granted oral argument, and now resolve the issues presented.[3]

         II

         Woods first contends that the trial court erred by admitting evidence of Woods' past prostitution of Englund. This is so, he asserts, because the proffered testimony was ...


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