CLINT D. WATKINS, Appellant (Defendant),
THE STATE OF WYOMING, Appellee (Plaintiff).
from the District Court of Uinta County The Honorable Joseph
B. Bluemel, Judge
Representing Appellant: Office of the State Public Defender:
Diane M. Lozano, State Public Defender; Tina N. Olson, Chief
Appellate Counsel; Patricia L. Bennett, Senior Assistant
Representing Appellee: Peter K. Michael, Attorney General;
David L. Delicath, Deputy Attorney General; Christyne M.
Martens, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Kellsie Jo
Singleton, Assistant Attorney General.
BURKE, C.J., and HILL, DAVIS, FOX, and KAUTZ, JJ.
Appellant, Clint D. Watkins, was convicted of two counts of
first-degree sexual abuse of a minor. On appeal, he claims
that prosecutorial misconduct deprived him of a fair trial.
We conclude there was no misconduct, and affirm.
The sole issue presented by Appellant is whether the
prosecutor committed prosecutorial misconduct during rebuttal
argument, impermissibly invading the province of the jury.
Appellant was charged with two counts of sexual abuse of a
minor in the first degree, in violation of Wyo. Stat. Ann.
§ 6-2-314(a)(ii) (LexisNexis 2013). The information
alleged that, in the winter of 2013, Appellant twice
inflicted sexual intrusion on his daughter, CW. At the time,
CW was fourteen years old and living with Appellant, his
wife, and their son.
At the age of fifteen, CW left Appellant's house to move
in with her aunt and uncle, who later adopted her. Her aunt
put CW into counseling because she was depressed and suffered
from panic attacks. In February of 2015, a couple of days
after her first counseling session, CW reported to her aunt
that she had been sexually abused by Appellant. Her aunt
reported the incidents to law enforcement officials, leading
to the charges against Appellant.
During opening statement, defense counsel laid out
Appellant's theory of the case. He asserted that the
evidence would demonstrate a "difficult"
relationship between CW and Appellant. CW did not like living
with Appellant and his wife. In early 2014, CW had an
opportunity to participate in a school trip to Costa Rica.
Appellant could not afford to pay for the trip, but
Appellant's sister and her husband, CW's aunt and
uncle, were willing to pay CW for doing chores so that she
could afford the trip. CW began spending more time with her
aunt and uncle and, eventually, to relieve the "ongoing
strife" between CW and Appellant, the aunt and uncle
arranged for CW to live with them. Near the middle of 2014,
Appellant relinquished his parental rights to CW, and the
aunt and uncle adopted her. Following the adoption, Appellant
decided not to allow CW to spend time with her little
brother, which made her angry. Defense counsel concluded:
But there was one factor that [CW] was not counting on in
finding herself living with [her aunt and uncle], in a more
affluent situation, a situation where she wasn't going to
have to work to earn the money to go to Costa Rica. She
wasn't going to have to comply with the rules that her
father had been imposing on her. . . . [However, because] of
the nature of this confrontation, [Appellant and his wife]
decide that [her brother] shouldn't be spending any time
with [CW]. . . . But [CW] hadn't counted on not seeing
her little brother, someone that she dearly loves. . . . From
that, we submit to you that she has made up a story that has
brought all of us here today. My client, [Appellant], never
sexually abused his daughter.
On direct examination, CW provided detailed testimony
concerning the two incidents. It is unnecessary to review
those details in this opinion. We merely observe that, if the
jury believed CW's testimony, there ...