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Donald E. Inman v. the State of Wyoming

August 7, 2012

DONALD E. INMAN, APPELLANT
(DEFENDANT),
v.
THE STATE OF WYOMING, APPELLEE (PLAINTIFF).



Appeal from the District Court of Campbell County The Honorable John R. Perry, Judge

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Golden, Justice.

Before KITE, C.J., and GOLDEN, HILL, VOIGT, and BURKE, JJ.

NOTICE: This opinion is subject to formal revision before publication in Pacific Reporter Third. Readers are requested to notify the Clerk of the Supreme Court, Supreme Court Building, Cheyenne, Wyoming 82002, of any typographical or other formal errors so that correction may be made before final publication in the permanent volume.

[¶1] Donald Inman (Inman) appeals his aggravated assault and battery conviction. Inman did not deny that he assaulted the victim, but claimed he acted in defense of himself and his family. On appeal, Inman asserts the district court erred in allowing a detective to provide lay opinion testimony as to the location of the assault. He also asserts the district court erred in denying his motions for judgment of acquittal, arguing that the victim's testimony was contradictory and so inherently unreliable that a reasonable juror could not have accepted the victim's version of events and rejected Inman's claim of self defense. We affirm.

ISSUES

[¶2] Inman presents the following issues on appeal:

1. The denial by the Honorable District Judge John R. Perry of Defendant's Motion in Limine: WRE 701 dated January 5, 2011 and the admission of improper lay opinion evidence of Gillette Detective Becky Elger; and

2. The denial by the Honorable District Judge John R. Perry of Defendant's Motion for Judgment of Acquittal -- Criminal Rule 29(c) dated March 25, 2011.

FACTS

[¶3] On September 14, 2010, Jerrod Wilson (Wilson) moved from Oklahoma to Gillette, Wyoming, with his wife and their infant son. Wilson's wife is Inman's sister, and when they arrived in Gillette, the Wilsons stayed with Inman in an apartment that he shared with his girlfriend and their two children.

[¶4] On September 17, 2010, Inman and Wilson went together to run an errand and to a bar to celebrate Wilson's new job. Over the course of about two hours, Inman drank two to three beers, and Wilson drank four beers and two shots of hard liquor. While they were drinking, Wilson told Inman that he had broken his wife's nose, pushed her down when she was pregnant, and had been unfaithful to her. Inman testified:

A. He told me about the stuff that happened with my sister in the past, about the times he hit her and broke her nose. And I believe he pushed her down when she was pregnant. And then I believe he said he was -- hadn't been faithful as well.

Q. How did that make you feel?

A. Uneasy and not good, but, you know, I was still wanting to give him the benefit of the doubt. He came up here for a new start, and I was going to give it to him.

Q. How was his attitude about telling you about these things about your sister?

A. It sucked when he was talking about it. It's like he had like an I-don't-care attitude. It was real -- it disturbed me. It really did. It was a really shitty attitude.

Q. Did you think those things were a big deal?

A. Yes. That's my sister. Yeah. Yeah.

Q. How was the ride back to your apartment?

A. It was pretty quiet. We really didn't talk much. I didn't want to talk to him that ...


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