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State v. Knapp

Court of Appeals of Washington, Division 3

December 10, 2019

STATE OF WASHINGTON, Respondent,
v.
LELAND HONN KNAPP IV, Appellant.

          Lawrence-Berrey, C.J.

         Leland Knapp appeals his conviction for second degree rape by forcible compulsion. He argues the trial court erred when it refused to give his proposed instruction on consent, which required the State to prove lack of consent beyond a reasonable doubt. We disagree. The trial court correctly instructed the jury on consent, that evidence of consent may be taken into consideration in determining whether the defendant used forcible compulsion to have sexual intercourse. The trial court's instruction was consistent with State v. W.R., 181 Wn.2d 757, 336 P.3d 1134 (2014) and permitted Knapp to argue his theory of the case.

         FACTS

         Leland Knapp and Brandy Spaulding met in high school and were friends for more than a decade. On February 7, 2016, Ms. Spaulding was preparing to watch the Super Bowl when Knapp came to her home. Ms. Spaulding let him in. The events following this were disputed.

         According to Ms. Spaulding, Knapp began to make sexual comments toward her and expressed an interest in having sex. Ms. Spaulding denied his advances. Knapp then left, but soon returned to the home, claiming he forgot his bandana. Ms. Spaulding let him in again and while she was sitting on the couch, Knapp threw her to the ground and attempted to pull down her pants. Ms. Spaulding said "[n]o" and tried to pull up her pants but Knapp was successful in pulling them down. Report of Proceedings (Feb. 7, 2018) (RP Trial) at 617-18. Ms. Spaulding screamed for her neighbors, but they did not hear her. Knapp then used his bandana to gag her. The struggle continued until Knapp pinned her against a wall and raped her. Ms. Spaulding continued to say, "No," "Stop," and "Don't do this." RP Trial at 623. Knapp left, and Ms. Spaulding called her mother and then the police. Ms. Spaulding was taken to the hospital where she underwent a sexual assault examination.

         According to Knapp, he and Ms. Spaulding were "friends with benefits" for years and engaged in sex together on and off. RP Trial at 638. After Ms. Spaulding let him in the first time, Ms. Spaulding realized Knapp was high on methamphetamine and she hinted that she wanted some. Knapp refused to give her any. Ms. Spaulding became upset, and Knapp decided to leave. After he left, Knapp realized he forgot his bandana and returned to retrieve it. Ms. Spaulding let him in again, and she pressed Knapp to get her high. Eventually, Ms. Spaulding offered sex for drugs. At that point, Knapp "gave in" and they had sex. RP Trial at 643. Afterward, Knapp could not find the methamphetamine to give to her. Ms. Spaulding became upset and threatened to call the police and falsely accuse him of rape. Knapp left and was later arrested. The State charged Knapp with rape in the second degree by forcible compulsion.

         At trial, the State called Crissa Flink, a sexual assault nurse examiner. Ms. Flink utilized a sexual assault kit on Ms. Spaulding. Ms. Flink noted bruising to the prepuce and a tear to the posterior fourchette. Ms. Flink testified that these injuries could have been caused by consensual sex or rape.

         The State also called Alison Walker, a DNA[1] scientist with the Washington State Patrol Crime Laboratory. Ms. Walker tested the bandana and found Ms. Spaulding's saliva and skin cells on it. Ms. Walker also testified that the perineal swabs gathered by Ms. Flink in the sexual assault kit matched a mixture of Knapp and Ms. Spaulding.

         Knapp requested an instruction that told the jury the State had the burden of proving an absence of consent beyond a reasonable doubt. The State opposed this instruction, arguing it was not a correct statement of the law. The State instead proposed Washington pattern jury instruction 18.25, which reads, "Evidence of consent may be taken into consideration in determining whether the defendant used forcible compulsion to have sexual intercourse." RP Trial at 677-78; see also 11 Washington Practice: Washington Pattern Jury Instructions: Criminal (WPIC) 18.25 (4th ed. 2016). The trial court declined to give Knapp's proposed instruction and instead gave the State's.

         The jury found Knapp guilty of second degree rape. The trial court sentenced Knapp to a midrange sentence-110 months to life. The court also imposed a $200 criminal filing fee and a $100 DNA fee.

         Knapp timely appealed.

         ANALYSIS

         A. Jury instruction

         Knapp contends the trial court erred when it declined to give his proposed jury ...


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