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United States v. Begay

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

May 17, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
TRISTIN ROBERT BEGAY

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING GOVERNMENT'S MOTION IN LIMINE PURSUANT FED.R.EVID. 803(2) AND 803(4)

         THIS MATTER comes before the Court upon the Government's Motion in Limine to Permit Testimony Regarding Victim's Statements Pursuant to Fed.R.Evid. 803(2) and 803(4), filed May 7, 2018 (Doc. 85). In this motion, the Government seeks a pre-trial ruling permitting testimony from the victim's (Jane Doe) family and her boyfriend as to statements she made on the night of the alleged rape while she was leaving Defendant's residence. The Government also seeks a pre-trial ruling permitting testimony from Patrick Ignacio, M.D., regarding the victim's statements during the victim's sexual assault exam. Having reviewed the parties' pleadings and the applicable law, the Court finds that the Government's motion is well-taken and, therefore, is granted.

         BACKGROUND

         Defendant is charged in a two-count indictment with sexual abuse and aggravated sexual abuse of his then seventeen-year-old second cousin, Jane Doe, which allegedly occurred on May 29, 2014 at Defendant's residence in his bedroom. The parties emphasize different aspects of the event, with the Defendant offering more of the facts relating to the alleged sexual assault itself. At the time of the offense, Shanette Begay (Defendant's mother), Olivia Charleston (Jane Doe's mother), O'Bryan Charleston (Jane Doe's brother), and Summer Hall (O'Bryan's girlfriend) were all present in the home.

         The facts presented by the Government describe the statements at issue as well as the facts occurring after the alleged sexual assault.

         After the assault (according to the Government's brief), Jane Doe went to the bathroom and texted her then boyfriend, Darrell Maldonado. Jane Doe and Darrell texted for approximately 30 minutes. Jane Doe told Darrell that Defendant “just violated [her.]” They discussed what to do next. Over the course of the conversation, Jane Doe described the sexual assault to Darrell as follows:

I fell asleep watching a movie and he was on the floor. next thing i woke up and he's fingering me And on top of me . . . I don't know why I didn't try to fight him off. I told him to stop . . . He took off my pants and started fingering me then I was awake. He got on top and put it in. I didn't know what to do. While he was doing this “I said what are you doing? Stop.”

         During this conversation, Jane Doe was obviously distressed. She told Darrell that she did not know what to do, that she was embarrassed, that she “wan[ed] to cry” but couldn't “feel anything.” Darrell encouraged Jane Doe to tell her mother about the assault. Around midnight, Jane Doe woke up her mother Olivia, and told her that Defendant raped her. Jane Doe started crying and told Olivia she was afraid to say anything. After hearing what happened, Olivia immediately went to Defendant's mother, Shanette Begay, woke her up, and told her what happened. Together Olivia, Shanette, and Jane Doe woke up and confronted Defendant. During this confrontation, Jane Doe was screaming, crying, and very upset.

         The noise from the confrontation woke up Jane Doe's brother, O'Bryan, and his girlfriend, Summer Hall, who were sleeping in the living room. Summer heard Jane Doe screaming at Defendant: “Why would you do this to me?! You have a girlfriend. What do you think your girlfriend is going to think?”

         Jane Doe told O'Bryan and Summer about the rape. She said that she was sleeping in the bed when she felt something weird and woke up to Defendant touching her. Jane Doe told O'Bryan and Summer that she tried to tell Defendant to stop, but he did not. As she explained what happened, she was crying and said she wanted to leave the home.

         After the confrontation, Jane Doe and her family quickly gathered their belongings and left Defendant's residence. The family traveled to a nearby law enforcement officer's home and reported the rape. According to Navajo Nation police records, the report was called in at approximately 12:43 a.m.

         Defendant's brief includes facts pertaining to the alleged assault itself:

         On the night of the incident (and according to Defendant), Jane Doe intentionally slept in the same bed as Defendant, who was her eighteen year-old cousin, as she had done many times previously. On the night of the incident, she went into Defendant's room so she could charge her iPod, as there were no other locations in the home offering that capability). The offense occurred in Defendant's bedroom sometime between 10:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. while Jane Doe's relatives were sleeping. Jane Doe began charging her iPod in Defendant's room at 10:00 p.m. They began to watch T.V. and ultimately she fell asleep. Jane Doe stated that she woke up to the feel of someone touching her and at first she thought it was her boyfriend who was spending the night at his home in Window Rock, AZ. She claimed that the touching led to her being vaginally penetrated by Mr. Begay's fingers and ultimately Mr. Begay removed her pants, her underwear and his own shorts before penetrating her vaginally with his penis. Jane Doe claims that Mr. Begay pinned her down and penetrated her while periodically removing his penis and masturbating himself and then penetrated her again. At no time during the alleged sexual assault did Jane Doe cry for help to any of the numerous family members within earshot of her alleged sexual assault. In fact, Jane Doe explained initially that she did not wish to scream for help because she was afraid it might “scare” the other people in the house.

         After the alleged sexual assault, Defendant went to the restroom and Jane Doe got up, put her clothes on and bot back in bed. Defendant returned and fell asleep next to Jane Doe. Jane Doe got up at around 11:00 p.m., went to the bathroom and started texting her boyfriend; the text messaging went on for thirty minutes to an hour. Afterwards, Jane Doe woke up her mother, and then the two of them woke up Defendant's mother.

         The Government seeks a ruling permitting statements from Jane Doe's family and her boyfriend as to statements Jane ...


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