Chapman v. State, No. 99-125.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
Writing for the CourtLEHMAN, Chief Justice.
Citation2001 WY 25,18 P.3d 1164
Docket NumberNo. 99-125.
Decision Date05 March 2001
PartiesCarl Thomas CHAPMAN, Appellant (Defendant), v. The STATE of Wyoming, Appellee (Plaintiff).

18 P.3d 1164
2001 WY 25

Carl Thomas CHAPMAN, Appellant (Defendant),
v.
The STATE of Wyoming, Appellee (Plaintiff)

No. 99-125.

Supreme Court of Wyoming.

March 5, 2001.

Rehearing Denied March 27, 2001.


18 P.3d 1167
Representing Appellant: Mike Cornia, Evanston, WY

Representing Appellee: Gay Woodhouse, Attorney General; Paul S. Rehurek, Deputy Attorney General; D. Michael Pauling, Senior Assistant Attorney General; and Kimberly A. Baker, Senior Assistant Attorney General.

Before LEHMAN, C.J., and THOMAS,1 MACY,2 GOLDEN, and HILL, JJ.

LEHMAN, Chief Justice.

[¶ 1] A Sweetwater County jury found Carl Thomas Chapman guilty of two counts of indecent liberties with a minor and two counts of third degree sexual assault. He appeals those convictions on the grounds that the district court committed various evidentiary and procedural errors during trial and sentencing and that he was denied effective assistance of counsel. Finding no such errors, we affirm.

ISSUES

[¶ 2] Chapman raises five claims of error:

1. Did reversible error occur when the court allowed expert testimony on the theory of childhood sexual abuse and post traumatic stress disorder[?]
2. Did multiple charges and convictions for one event constitute double jeopardy[?]
3. Did the trial court err in failing to properly instruct the jury on the applicable law
(A) if defendant was denied his right to due process and trial by jury by the lack of a proper elements instruction; and
(B) if the appellant was entitled to have the jury instructed on the lesser included offense of fourth degree sexual assault[?]
4. Given the appellant's hearing impairment did his trial violate his rights to confrontation, effective assistance of counsel and his right to be present[?]
5. Was the appellant denied his right to effective assistance of counsel[?]

The State rephrases the issues thusly:

1. Whether plain error was committed by allowing expert testimony on the theory of childhood sexual abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder?
2. Whether appellant was punished multiple times for a single incident?
3. Whether the trial court properly instructed the jury?
4. Whether appellant's right to confrontation and his right to be present were violated?
5. Whether appellant received effective assistance of counsel?

FACTS

[¶ 3] The parents of the victim were divorced in 1991. The father had visitation rights; and, at various times during 1994 and

18 P.3d 1168
1995, the victim stayed with her father, a neighbor of Chapman and Chapman's wife. The victim oftentimes stayed with the Chapmans during father's visitation

[¶ 4] In April of 1997, the victim told her mother that Chapman had sexually molested her. Chapman was eventually charged with one count of third degree sexual assault and one count of indecent liberties stemming from sexual activity alleged to have occurred on or about December 30, 1994.3 Chapman was also charged with one count of third degree sexual assault and one count of indecent liberties stemming from sexual activity alleged to have occurred in June of 1995. These incidents were alleged to have occurred in Chapman's home at a time during which the victim was thirteen years old and Chapman was approaching 50.

[¶ 5] After hearing the testimony of the victim, the victim's parents, an expert, and Chapman's wife, a Sweetwater County jury found Chapman guilty of all charges. Convictions were entered accordingly. At Chapman's sentencing, the district court ordered the sentences from the December 1994/January 1995 offenses be served concurrently to each other; the sentences from the June 1995 offenses be served concurrently to each other; and the two sets of concurrent sentences be served consecutively. Chapman appealed.

DISCUSSION

[¶ 6] In the first four issues in his appellate brief, Chapman claims error based on the admission of expert testimony, improper jury instructions, an alleged violation of the double jeopardy clause in his sentence, and an alleged violation of his right to confront witnesses and be present at trial because he could not hear the proceedings against him. In the alternative, Chapman claims he was denied effective assistance of counsel because trial counsel failed to object in each instance of claimed error. Given the structure of appellant's brief and in order to avoid repetition, we will address each claim only once, both substantively and, where appropriate, as the claim pertains to the ineffective assistance claim. In order to do this, we first reiterate our well established standard for reviewing a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel:

When reviewing a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, the paramount determination is whether, in light of all the circumstances, trial counsel's acts or omissions were outside the wide range of professionally competent assistance. Herdt v. State, 891 P.2d 793, 796 (Wyo.1995); Starr v. State, 888 P.2d 1262, 1266-67 (Wyo. 1995); Arner v. State, 872 P.2d 100, 104 (Wyo.1994); Frias v. State, 722 P.2d 135, 145 (Wyo.1986). The reviewing court should indulge a strong presumption that counsel rendered adequate assistance and made all significant decisions in the exercise of reasonable professional judgment. Herdt, at 796; Starr, at 1266; Arner, at 104; Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 689, 104 S.Ct. 2052, 2065, 80 L.Ed.2d 674 (1984).
Under the two-prong standard articulated in Strickland and Frias, an appellant claiming ineffective assistance of counsel must demonstrate on the record that counsel's performance was deficient and that prejudice resulted. Strickland, 466 U.S. at 687, 104 S.Ct. at 2064; Starr, at 1266; King v. State, 810 P.2d 119, 125 (Wyo.1991) (Cardine, J., dissenting); Campbell v. State, 728 P.2d 628, 629 (Wyo.1986); Frias, 722 P.2d at 145. In other words, to warrant reversal on a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, an appellant must demonstrate that his counsel failed to "render such assistance as would have been offered by a reasonably competent attorney" and that "counsel's deficiency prejudiced the defense of [the] case." Lower v. State, 786 P.2d 346, 349 (Wyo.1990). "The benchmark for judging any claim of ineffectiveness must be whether counsel's conduct so undermined the proper functioning of the adversarial process that the trial cannot be relied on as having produced a just result."
18 P.3d 1169
Strickland, 466 U.S. at 686, 104 S.Ct. at 2064.

Grainey v. State, 997 P.2d 1035, 1038-39 (Wyo.2000).

Expert testimony

[¶ 7] Chapman contends it was plain error to allow an expert witness to testify that the victim suffers from postraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) because (1) the court allowed the testimony without first determining that it was relevant and reliable; (2) the court failed to give a limiting instruction advising the jury that the testimony was admitted solely for the purpose of explaining the victim's behavior and not to prove that the victim's claim was true; and (3) during her testimony, the expert vouched for the credibility of the victim and also offered an opinion of guilt. Because trial counsel never requested a hearing on the admissibility of the expert testimony and did not otherwise object to the expert, Chapman also claims counsel's performance was outside the wide range of professionally competent assistance.

[¶ 8] A qualified expert witness may testify about scientific, technical, or specialized knowledge if such testimony will help the jury understand the case. W.R.E. 702. This court has adopted the federal Daubert model imposing gatekeeping responsibilities on trial courts deciding whether scientific or technical expert testimony is admissible. See Bunting v. Jamieson, 984 P.2d 467, 471 (Wyo.1999) (citing Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579, 592-93, 113 S.Ct. 2786, 2796, 125 L.Ed.2d 469 (1993)). In doing so, however, we did not "abandon our own precedent regarding the admissibility of expert testimony." Bunting, at 471. Under the Daubert model, the trial court must first determine whether the expert's methodology is reliable; then the court must determine whether the proposed testimony "fits" the facts of the particular case. Id. A district court's decision to admit or reject expert testimony is a decision solely within that court's discretion. Seivewright v. State, 7 P.3d 24, 29 (Wyo.2000); Springfield v. State, 860 P.2d 435, 438 (Wyo.1993); Betzle v. State, 847 P.2d 1010, 1022 (Wyo.1993).

[¶ 9] The expert in question testified that she held a bachelor's degree in psychology and had completed all but her dissertation toward a Ph.D. in psychology. She had been employed for twenty years as an outpatient therapist and was currently working at least part of the time with children who had been physically or sexually abused. To be a licensed counselor in Wyoming, she was required to have the educational equivalent of a master's degree, completed 2000 hours of supervised clinical work, and passed a test administered by the state licensing board. She had published articles about her work with sexually abused children in a peer-reviewed journal. The articles related specifically to identifying children who had been sexually abused, assisting them in working through trauma, and helping them overcome the behaviors or symptoms they experienced as a result of the trauma. She had training in working with people who had been diagnosed with PTSD and had been a certified trainer for six years in a neurolinguistics program dealing with PTSD. After explaining her qualifications, the expert testified about her meetings with the victim in this case and the observations she made during those meetings. She observed that the victim exhibited symptoms of disassociation and depression. She testified that it was her opinion the victim suffered from PTSD. She then went on to explain that it was common for victims of sexual abuse to delay reporting the abuse, become sexually active, and return to the abuser's home.

[¶ 10] Although...

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53 practice notes
  • Giles v. State, No. 02-63.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • September 2, 2004
    ...has, however, repeatedly refused to precisely define the phrase "immodest, immoral or indecent liberties." See e.g., Chapman v. State, 2001 WY 25, ¶ 28, 18 P.3d 1164, ¶ 28 (Wyo.2001); Sorenson v. State, 604 P.2d 1031, 1034-35 (Wyo.1979). Instead, the jury is allowed to apply its common sens......
  • Duke v. State, No. 02-270.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • October 25, 2004
    ...State, 2002 WY 126, ¶ 12, 53 P.3d 94, ¶ 12 (Wyo.2002); Reyna v. State, 2001 WY 105, ¶ 19, 33 P.3d 1129, ¶ 19 (Wyo.2001); Chapman v. State, 2001 WY 25, ¶ 6, 18 P.3d 1164, ¶ 6 (Wyo. 2001); Grainey v. State, 997 P.2d 1035, 1038-39 (Wyo.2000)). The burden of proving that counsel was ineffective......
  • Sincock v. State
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • September 12, 2003
    ...in appeals alleging imposition of multiple sentences for a single act, the focus is on those facts proven at trial. Chapman v. State, 2001 WY 25, ¶ 25, 18 P.3d 1164, ¶ 25 (Wyo. 2001). The ultimate question is whether those facts reveal a single criminal act or multiple distinct offenses aga......
  • Cloud v. State, No. S–11–0102.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • February 9, 2012
    ...that the trial cannot be relied on as having produced a just result.’ Strickland, 466 U.S. at 686, 104 S.Ct. at 2064.' Chapman v. State, 2001 WY 25, ¶ 6, 18 P.3d 1164, 1168–69 (Wyo.2001) (quoting Grainey v. State, 997 P.2d 1035, 1038–39 (Wyo.2000) ). This test has been specialized for cases......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
53 cases
  • Giles v. State, No. 02-63.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • September 2, 2004
    ...has, however, repeatedly refused to precisely define the phrase "immodest, immoral or indecent liberties." See e.g., Chapman v. State, 2001 WY 25, ¶ 28, 18 P.3d 1164, ¶ 28 (Wyo.2001); Sorenson v. State, 604 P.2d 1031, 1034-35 (Wyo.1979). Instead, the jury is allowed to apply its common sens......
  • Duke v. State, No. 02-270.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • October 25, 2004
    ...State, 2002 WY 126, ¶ 12, 53 P.3d 94, ¶ 12 (Wyo.2002); Reyna v. State, 2001 WY 105, ¶ 19, 33 P.3d 1129, ¶ 19 (Wyo.2001); Chapman v. State, 2001 WY 25, ¶ 6, 18 P.3d 1164, ¶ 6 (Wyo. 2001); Grainey v. State, 997 P.2d 1035, 1038-39 (Wyo.2000)). The burden of proving that counsel was ineffective......
  • Sincock v. State
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • September 12, 2003
    ...in appeals alleging imposition of multiple sentences for a single act, the focus is on those facts proven at trial. Chapman v. State, 2001 WY 25, ¶ 25, 18 P.3d 1164, ¶ 25 (Wyo. 2001). The ultimate question is whether those facts reveal a single criminal act or multiple distinct offenses aga......
  • Cloud v. State, No. S–11–0102.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • February 9, 2012
    ...that the trial cannot be relied on as having produced a just result.’ Strickland, 466 U.S. at 686, 104 S.Ct. at 2064.' Chapman v. State, 2001 WY 25, ¶ 6, 18 P.3d 1164, 1168–69 (Wyo.2001) (quoting Grainey v. State, 997 P.2d 1035, 1038–39 (Wyo.2000) ). This test has been specialized for cases......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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