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Swan v. State

Supreme Court of Wyoming

March 13, 2014

DANIEL GEORGE SWAN, Appellant (Defendant),
v.
THE STATE OF WYOMING, Appellee (Plaintiff)

Page 236

Appeal from the District Court of Johnson County. The Honorable William J. Edelman, Judge.

For Appellant: Office of the State Public Defender: Diane Lozano, State Public Defender; Tina N. Olson, Chief Appellate Counsel; and David E. Westling, Senior Assistant Appellate Counsel. Argument bye Mr. Westling.

For Appellee: Peter K. Michael, Wyoming Attorney General; David L. Delicath, Deputy Attorney General; Jeffrey Pope, Assistant Attorney General; Darrell Jackson, Faculty Director, Prosecution Assistance Program; David Singleton, Student Director; and Daniel Harnick, Student Intern. Argument by Mr. Harnick.

Before KITE, C.J., and HILL, VOIGT[*], BURKE, and DAVIS, JJ.

OPINION

Page 237

HILL, Justice.

[¶1] A jury found Daniel Swan guilty of one count of felony child abuse, and he now appeals. He claims that the district court erred by not granting his motion for judgment of acquittal, citing insufficient evidence. He also claims that his right to confrontation was violated because the district court limited questions to the victim regarding inappropriate sexual contact between the victim and his sister. We affirm.

ISSUES

[¶2] Swan presents two issues for our review:

1. The trial court's limitation of the cross-examination of DM effectively denied the Appellant, Daniel Swan, due process by denying him his constitutional right to confront the witness against him.
2. The evidence produced at trial was insufficient to support a verdict of child abuse and it was an abuse of discretion to deny Mr. Swan's motion under W.R.Cr.P. 29.

FACTS

[¶3] After being arrested on an outstanding warrant from the state of Montana, Daniel Swan's three step-children were placed into protective custody with the Wyoming Department of Family Services (DFS).[1] Almost immediately, the children's foster parent noticed bruises and cuts on DM's buttocks. DM, who was five years old at the time, indicated that he received those injuries at the hands of his step-father, ...


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