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State v. Jones

Court of Appeals of Utah

June 14, 2018

State of Utah, Appellee,
v.
Garvin Wayne Jones, Appellant.

          Second District Court, Farmington Department The Honorable David R. Hamilton No. 151700186.

          Scott L. Wiggins, Attorney for Appellant.

          Sean D. Reyes and John J. Nielsen, Attorneys for Appellee.

          Judge David N. Mortensen authored this Opinion, in which Judges Michele M. Christiansen and Diana Hagen concurred.

          OPINION

          MORTENSEN, JUDGE.

         ¶1 Garvin Wayne Jones sexually abused Victim beginning when she was eight years old. Jones's abuse continued until Victim was eleven years old and ranged from showing Victim pornographic images to sodomizing and raping her. The State charged Jones with child rape, as well as other crimes. The case proceeded to trial where defense counsel objected to the child rape elements in the jury instructions, asserting that the child rape statutes were unconstitutionally overbroad and vague. The trial court denied Jones's motion and he now appeals. We reject his arguments in full.

         BACKGROUND

         ¶2 Victim had an unstable childhood. Due to her parents' continued physical abuse and drug use, she went to live with an aunt and uncle. Unfortunately, the instability continued in her new home. Beginning when Victim was just eight years old, Jones, who was living in the same home as Victim, began sexually abusing her and continued to do so until she was eleven years old.

         ¶3 The abuse began with Jones touching her breasts and vagina, then escalated to digital penetration, mutual masturbation, oral sex, and vaginal and anal intercourse. Jones also showed Victim pornographic material online and took "photographs of her lying on his bed with her clothes off."

         ¶4 In August 2014, after multiple incidents of child abuse and drug abuse at the home of the aunt and uncle, Victim was removed from that home permanently. Several months later, Victim began seeing a Division of Child and Family Services therapist. Over the course of several sessions, Victim disclosed the sexual abuse Jones had inflicted on her. Upon disclosure, Victim was interviewed by a Child Protection Services investigator and once again, Victim revealed that she had been sexually abused by Jones. Officers then obtained search warrants for Jones's home, cell phone, and computers, where they discovered more than six pornographic images of children under the age of eighteen.

         ¶5 Jones was arrested and the State charged him with eighteen counts in total: three counts of child rape; three counts of child sodomy; three counts of aggravated child sexual abuse; six counts of sexual exploitation of a minor; and three counts of dealing in material harmful to a minor. At trial, Victim's testimony on the rape charges alleged not only touching, but also penetration. A nurse corroborated Victim's statement, testifying that Victim had disclosed that Jones had put his penis "into" her vagina.

         ¶6 During trial, the parties discussed jury instructions. Defense counsel objected to the elements instruction on the child rape charges, asserting that the child rape statute was unconstitutionally overbroad and vague.[1] Defense counsel alleged that Utah Code section 76-5-407 "only requires touching, " rather than penetration, which meant that the conduct "merged" with "aggravated sexual abuse of a child."[2]The State responded that the distinction between child rape and aggravated child sexual abuse was the body parts involved- "for child rape, it had to be genital-to-genital contact; for aggravated child sex abuse, it could be genital contact with other body parts." Ultimately, the trial court rejected Jones's argument and overruled his objection to the jury instructions.

         ¶7 The jury convicted Jones on one count of child rape, one count of child sodomy, three counts of aggravated child sexual abuse, two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, and three counts of ...


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