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State v. Corn

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Second Circuit

September 25, 2019

STATE OF LOUISIANA Appellee
v.
JONATHAN CORN Appellant

          Appealed from the Twenty-Sixth Judicial District Court for the Parish of Bossier, Louisiana Trial Court No. 222, 245 Honorable Michael Nerren, Judge.

          LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT By: Douglas Lee Harville Counsel for Appellant

          JOHN SCHUYLER MARVIN District Attorney Counsel for Appellee

          JOHN MICHAEL LAWRENCE ANDREW C. JACOBS DOUGLAS M. STINSON Assistant District Attorneys

          Before COX, STEPHENS, and McCALLUM, JJ.

          STEPHENS, J.

         This criminal appeal by Jonathan Corn arises from the Twenty-Sixth Judicial District Court, Parish of Bossier, State of Louisiana. Corn was convicted by jury of molestation of a juvenile, in violation of La. R.S. 14:81.2. He was sentenced to 25 years' imprisonment at hard labor, without the benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence. No motion to reconsider sentence was filed. On appeal, Corn's conviction and sentence are affirmed.

         FACTS

         On March 13, 2017, Jonathan Corn was charged by grand jury indictment with first degree rape, occurring on or about or between January 1, 2006, and December 31, 2014, in violation of La. R.S. 14:42(A)(4). The alleged victim was Corn's biological daughter, K.C., whose date of birth is January 4, 2001. Prior to Corn's indictment, K.C., her younger sister, M.C., and older half-brother, Jonathan Stubrud, completed interviews with the Mississippi Valley Child Protection Center in Muscatine, Iowa.[1] Corn ultimately pled not guilty, and a 12-person jury trial commenced on October 9, 2018, wherein eight witnesses testified. The jury subsequently returned a responsive verdict of guilty of molestation of a juvenile, by a 10-2 vote.[2]Following a presentence investigation, Corn was sentenced to 25 years' imprisonment at hard labor, without the benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence, with credit for time served. This appeal by Corn ensued.

         DISCUSSION

         On appeal, Corn challenges his conviction and asserts two assignments of error: (1) the jury instruction allowing for a nonunanimous verdict and the jury's 10-2 verdict of guilt violated his Sixth Amendment rights; and, (2) there was insufficient evidence to prove he was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

         Trial Testimony

         At trial, Amy Kuboushek testified she was formerly employed as a forensic interviewer at the Mississippi Valley Child Protection Center in Muscatine, Iowa. She explained a forensic interview is a legally sound method of gathering factual information about an abuse allegation. She stated she is a licensed social worker with a master's degree in social work and has additionally completed extensive training for the forensic interviewer position. Kuboushek testified that on March 22, 2016, she conducted interviews with K.C., M.C., and Stubrud. She stated she had no contact with the children prior to the initiation of the interviews. Kuboushek testified she was the only person present in the interview room as the children were individually interviewed and explained that live footage of the interviews was streamed to a television in the observation room and she wore an earpiece, which allowed her colleagues to communicate with her. The recorded videos of each interview were entered in evidence and played for the jury.[3]

         In his interview with Kuboushek, Stubrud stated he was 16 years old and a sophomore in high school. In describing Corn's interactions with K.C., Stubrud explained that Corn and K.C. would have alone time together in his parents' bedroom for about 20 minutes, once or twice a week. Stubrud stated he would spend alone time with Corn as well, which consisted of camping and riding go-carts. When describing the physical abuse he experienced at Corn's hands, Stubrud began to cry and said that Corn would beat him with a leather belt when he received bad grades at school.

         In her interview with Kuboushek, M.C. stated she was 12 years old and in the seventh grade. M.C. stated she witnessed Corn and K.C. having sex on the bed in her parents' room. M.C. explained she would peep through the keyhole of an "old fashioned door" into the bedroom and observe K.C. and Corn during "daddy time." M.C. described Corn with his pants down around his ankles and K.C. leaning over the bed. M.C. stated Corn's "front area" and "private part" would be touching K.C.'s buttocks area. M.C. recalled that when she confronted her sister about what she had observed, K.C. told Corn, who then claimed to M.C. that he and K.C. had only been discussing whether K.C. wanted to go to work with him. M.C. stated that upon confronting K.C. another time, K.C. told her, "It doesn't matter to you. It's my business, not yours." She stated when she asked to spend "daddy time" with Corn, he replied she was too young. M.C. recalled Corn had instructed K.C. to tell child protection services "daddy time" was playing a video game. M.C. explained she was too scared to tell anyone what she saw but finally told her mother in December 2015 because K.C. was "having a hard time." M.C. also described physical abuse by Corn in the form of beatings with a studded belt. She stated Corn would beat her and her siblings with a belt engraved with the initials "JC, " which would leave a backward "JC" indention on her skin. M.C. explained that upon relocating to Iowa with her mother and siblings, she stopped wanting to visit Corn, feeling as though he had "given up on" her when he asked her mother for a divorce. She stated she did not like Corn's girlfriend and that Corn's home, also occupied by his girlfriend and her children, was too crowded and loud. M.C. stated she had never been forced to visit Corn.

         K.C. was also interviewed by Kuboushek and stated she was 15 years old, in the ninth grade, and liked to ride horses. K.C. stated Corn physically and sexually abused her but was unable to describe aloud what sexual acts Corn committed upon her. Instead, K.C. wrote out her experience with Corn. When asked about the start of the sexual abuse, K.C. wrote the following:

Started young ended when I moved away with mom. We were watching movies in the living room and he started touching me but I didn't understand so I didn't know what to do so I kept moving away and he started yelling.

         When asked to describe a time that was different than the first encounter, K.C. wrote the following:

My mom was gone. [M.C.] was home and I was with my dad. He took me into his room and started undressing me and I tried fighting back because I had an idea of what he was doing but he pushed me down and I couldn't get away and then he started to have sexual intercourse with me.

         K.C. stated that Corn started sexually abusing her when she was about five or six years old; it began when she was living at 2603 Horacek Road in Haughton, Louisiana, and always occurred in Corn's bedroom. K.C. explained Corn had sexual intercourse with her a few times every week and she was 12 or 13 years old when he last abused her. She stated Corn last sexually abused her at her mother's home in Churchpoint, Louisiana, which was the only occasion Corn had sexual intercourse with her outside of his bedroom.

         K.C. could not verbally describe what intercourse meant to her and was given anatomical drawings of a male and a female to circle the corresponding body parts that touched during intercourse with Corn. K.C. circled the penis of the male and the vagina of the female. Kuboushek asked K.C. if this part of Corn (pointing to the male's penis from the drawing) was touching this part of her (pointing to the female's vagina) during intercourse, and K.C. shook her head affirmatively. She described through the drawings that Corn's penis was always inside her vagina during intercourse, and she denied that he ever touched her anywhere ...


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