State charged Ivory Tyquan Butler with promoting commercial
sexual abuse of a minor. Months before trial, the State
provided the defense with business records and a
certification from the records custodian. Although the State
did not give the required written notice of its intent to
rely on the preauthentication provisions of RCW 10.96.030,
Butler had a fair opportunity to challenge the business
records. Therefore, Butler was not prejudiced by the lack of
written notice. Alternatively, any error was harmless in view
of the overwhelming evidence of Butler's commercial
sexual exploitation of a 14-year-old girl.
presence of a second jail officer in the courtroom during a
portion of the victim's testimony did not deprive Butler
of his right to a fair trial. The second officer was not
conspicuously close to Butler, did not obstruct Butler's
view of the witness, did not attract attention, and was not
present for the remainder of the victim's testimony.
Additionally, the trial court instructed the jury about a
routine change in security personnel.
was 14 years old when she first met 22-year-old Ivory Butler.
N.C. skipped school and spent the day with Butler. N.C.
's mother found out she had skipped school and punished
ran away from home, and Butler picked her up. He took her to
a motel room and arranged for her to meet men at the motel
for sex. She gave the money she received to Butler.
messages to and from N.C. on Butler's cellphone describe
their relationship and discuss N.C. selling sexual services
and giving the payments to Butler. After his arrest, Butler
admitted the phone was his and that he had the phone in his
possession the day police found N.C. at the motel. N.C. also
testified that she had memorized that same phone number as
Butler's number. Recordings of Butler's jail phone
calls established that he called his own phone number from
jail several times. After failed attempts, someone did
answer, and Butler asked, "Why haven't you been
[answering] my phone?" And the individual he spoke to
referred to the phone as "your
Raymond Unsworth found Internet ads on Backpage.com for
female escort services with Butler's phone number listed
as the contact number. The ads included photographs of the
body, but not the face, of a young woman. The ads alluded to
sexual services that would be provided, with the prices that
would be charged. When Detective Unsworth showed the photos
in the ads to N.C. 's mother; she recognized N.C.
undercover detective responded to the Backpage ads by
contacting Butler's phone number. The detective, posing
as a customer, arranged to obtain sexual services for $300
from a woman in room 201 of the New Horizon Motel. Police
found N.C. in that room, together with a disposable cellphone
under the mattress, condoms in a Crown Royal bag, and a knife
in the bedside table drawer. N.C. testified that Butler
provided these items for her use. In Butler's phone, the
contact name assigned to the disposable phone found in the
motel room was "Money Baby Money
Baby." Text messages between Butler's phone
and the disposable phone found in the motel room included
details about providing sexual services for
money. The messages also included instructions
from Butler to N.C. to discard the phone in the toilet if the
was arrested and charged under RCW9.68A.101 with promoting
commercial sexual abuse of a minor.
trial, the State sought to admit three exhibits that are at
issue on appeal. Exhibits 3 and 4 relate to Backpage ads for
escort services. Exhibit 5 is the certification from the
Backpage records custodian.
Unsworth testified that he found the ads on Backpage's
public website. Each ad included photographs of a young
woman, information about the sexual services that could be
provided, the price, and Butler's telephone number as the
contact. Exhibits 3 and 4 compiled the ads that were online,
more photographs that Detective Unsworth had not seen online,
the date each ad was posted, and the poster's fictitious
name, mailing address, and e-mail address. Backpage provided
the certification from its records custodian in response to a
search warrant for business records. The State provided these
exhibits to Butler months before trial as part of discovery.
The trial court admitted the exhibits over Butler's
trial, Butler was in custody and a jail officer was present
in the courtroom. When N.C. concluded her testimony, Butler
moved for a mistrial, arguing that during a portion of N.C.
's testimony, an additional jail officer was present and
"was shielding the witness from [Butler]" and the
officer made "it obvious to the
jurors." The court described the event:
Very little that happened with the second officer entering
the courtroom the Court believes created any sort of alarm
for dangerousness by the defendant or even particular tension
in the courtroom, and the Court treated it as though it were
routine. The defense didn't raise a motion to alert the
Court to any prejudice or possible prejudice that they
believe it produced. The officer was unobtrusive. He sat
directly in front of the witness stand but some 20 feet away.
He was eight feet away from the defendant-I would say
that's a fair estimate-and six from the defense counsel.
He was in a position to prevent any harm, but he also was not
obtrusive. No weapon was displayed. There was no fidgetiness.
There was nothing to suggest that this was anything other
than just another security measure.
court also noted that there was not a second officer present
when N.C. testified the next morning. The court denied
Butler's motion. Jail staff subsequently informed both
counsel and the court that the additional officer appeared
because of a routine change in personnel. The trial court
gave a limiting instruction conveying that information:
Security staff in the courtroom has not been deliberately
heightened at any time during this trial. Additional security
staff may have appeared because of a routine change in
personnel. The jury should not make any assumptions or draw
any conclusions based upon the presence of security
jury found Butler guilty as charged, and the trial court
imposed a standard range sentence.