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King v. State

Supreme Court of Wyoming

May 18, 2018

ANGEL ELISABETH KING, Appellant (Defendant),
v.
THE STATE OF WYOMING, Appellee (Plaintiff).

          Appeal from the District Court of Laramie County The Honorable Steven K. Sharpe, Judge

          Representing Appellant: Office of the State Public Defender: Diane M. Lozano, State Public Defender; Tina N. Olson [*] ; Kirk

          Representing Appellee: Peter K. Michael, Wyoming Attorney General; Christyne Martens, Deputy Attorney General; Caitlyn F. Harper, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Sam Williams, Assistant Attorney General.

          Before BURKE, C.J., and DAVIS, FOX, KAUTZ, and BOOMGAARDEN, JJ.

          BOOMGAARDEN, Justice.

         [¶1] Appellant, Angel Elisabeth King, seeks reversal of her felony conviction following a jury trial for one count of sexual exploitation of a child - possession of child pornography. She contends the prosecutor committed misconduct in rebuttal closing argument by making arguments not supported by the evidence. We affirm.

         ISSUE

         [¶2] Ms. King raises a single issue on appeal, which we restate as follows: Did the prosecutor commit misconduct during closing argument by arguing a theory of the case not supported by the evidence?

         FACTS

         [¶3] A jury convicted Ms. King of one count of sexual exploitation of a child - possession of child pornography, in violation of Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-4-303(b)(iv) and (d) (Lexis Nexis 2017). She was acquitted of two counts of accessory before the fact for aiding and abetting in her boyfriend Clinton Woods' second-degree sexual abuse of her minor daughter, D.O.[1] Ms. King was sentenced to three to five years of incarceration, suspended in favor of five years of supervised probation.

         [¶4] At trial, the State introduced evidence of sexual encounters D.O. had with Mr. Woods and two photographs of D.O.'s nude body found on Ms. King's phone. Specific to Ms. King's conviction, D.O. testified that just prior to her fourteenth birthday, on the way home from a trip to Fort Collins, Ms. King asked D.O. to take nude photographs of herself on Ms. King's phone for Mr. Woods. D.O. eventually complied with Ms. King's request and testified she had never used Ms. King's phone beyond that one occasion. D.O. was not aware of any software on her own phone that would have allowed her to share photographs taken on her phone with Ms. King's phone. D.O. also testified the photographs she took with her own phone were stored on the phone itself.

         [¶5] The State also presented the testimony of Detective Chris Girany, who conducted the digital search of Ms. King's phone. Detective Girany testified the phone he searched was activated on August 24, 2014, and the nude photographs of D.O. were taken on a different phone on December 21, 2013. Detective Girany explained, the photographs at issue were stored in the Google "Picasa" photo album application, which backed up the photographs on a separate cloud server. He stated the cloud storage for the Picasa photo album was associated with an email account matching King's. When the phone he searched was initialized, the process would have included inputting the email account information to access the backed-up photographs, which were uploaded to the cloud from another phone logged in under the same account.

         [¶6] Ms. King testified she used the same email account for her phone and her children's phones, including D.O.'s. She admitted she periodically reviewed the photographs in her electronic photo album, but denied she gave D.O. her phone and asked D.O. to take the pictures. Ms. King denied any knowledge the nude photos of D.O. existed.

         [¶7] With regard to the two counts of aiding and abetting the second-degree sexual abuse of a minor, the charges for which Ms. King was ultimately acquitted, D.O. testified that, between December 2013 and August 2014, Ms. King asked D.O. to join in Ms. King's and Mr. Woods' sexual relationship on at least three occasions. On redirect examination, D.O. clarified that on the trip back from Fort Collins in December 2013, when Ms. King had first suggested that D.O. join in her sexual relationship with Mr. Woods, D.O. and Ms. King had discussed D.O.'s sexual encounters with D.O.'s boyfriend at the time. D.O. testified that during that discussion Ms. King "made up the point that since I wasn't a virgin anymore, that it shouldn't - I shouldn't have to worry about being with [Woods], because being with [Woods] I ...


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