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State v. Porter

Supreme Court of Missouri

July 29, 2014

State of Missouri, Respondent,
v.
Sylvester Porter, Appellant

Page 209

APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE CITY OF ST. LOUIS. The Honorable Timothy J. Wilson, Judge.

Porter was represented by Amy E. Lowe of the public defender's office in St. Louis.

The state was represented by Evan J. Buccheim of the attorney general's office in Jefferson City.

Richard B. Teitelman, Judge. All concur.

OPINION

Page 210

Richard B. Teitelman, Judge.

Sylvester Porter appeals a judgment convicting him of two counts of statutory sodomy in the first degree. Porter argues that the trial court erred in denying his motion for judgment of acquittal because the victim's testimony was contradictory and lacked corroboration. Porter's argument is based on the " corroboration rule" and the " destructive contradictions" doctrine.[1] This Court abolishes both the corroboration rule and destructive contradictions doctrine because, among other reasons, both require appellate courts to act as the finder of fact. Review of the record according to the applicable standard of review demonstrates there was sufficient evidence to support the jury's finding that Porter committed statutory sodomy.

Porter also contends that the trial court erred in allowing the jury to have unrestricted access to the videotaped forensic interview of the victim during its deliberations. This point is without merit because Porter did not object or develop a factual record showing the extent of the jury's review of the video.

The judgment is affirmed.

Facts

Porter managed a rooming house where A.L. rented a room for herself and her three-year-old daughter, K.W. Porter, also known as " J-Money," had a room at the boarding house.

One weekend, K.W.'s grandmother took care of K.W. while A.L. was away. Grandmother awakened from a nap and discovered that K.W. was gone. Grandmother found K.W. in Porter's room. K.W.'s pants were off, and Porter was shirtless. Porter's head was between K.W.'s legs.

Grandmother removed K.W. from Porter's room. K.W. told Grandmother that Porter was " sniffing around down there" and " messing with her bottom part." When A.L. returned approximately one half hour after the incident, K.W. told A.L. that Porter touched her " kookoo," which was K.W.'s word for her vagina. A.L. then confronted Porter, who denied touching K.W. K.W. overheard Porter's denial and told him " yes you did, you touched my kookoo." A.L. called the police.

Grandmother later described Porter's actions to a children's division employee in terms of performing oral sex on K.W. Approximately two weeks later, K.W. told a forensic interviewer at the Child Advocacy Center (CAC) that Porter put his hand in her private part, touched her private part with his tongue, and put his private part on her face near her eye. The interview was recorded and admitted into evidence at trial.

The State charged Porter with two counts of first-degree statutory sodomy for touching K.W.'s vagina with his hand (Count I) and with his tongue (Count II). The State also charged Porter with one count of first-degree child molestation for touching K.W.'s head with his penis (Count III).

K.W. was five years old when she testified at Porter's trial. K.W. testified that Porter touched her private part with his hand but not with any other part of his body. K.W. also testified as follows:

Q: K.W. can you say whether J-Money really ...

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