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Posted by: Tanja Trezise on Jan 7, 2015

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys 1:

James O. Martin, III (on appeal) and Fannie J. Harris (at trial), Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, William Edward Arnold, Jr.

Attorneys 2:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clark B. Thornton, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Sharon Reddick, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge(s): EASTER

Defendant, William Edward Arnold, Jr., was indicted by the Davidson County Grand Jury for three counts of aggravated sexual battery and three counts of rape of a child for acts that took place while Defendant was a mentor for the victim through Big Brothers Big Sisters. Prior to trial, Defendant sought to introduce evidence of the victim’s prior sexual knowledge pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Evidence 412. The trial court granted the motion in part but prohibited the introduction of any extrinsic evidence at trial. At the conclusion of the proof at trial, the trial court granted a motion for judgment of acquittal on two counts of aggravated sexual battery, finding them “impossible” under the facts as presented to the jury. The jury convicted Defendant of the remaining charges: one count of aggravated sexual battery and three counts of rape of a child. The trial court denied the motion for new trial and sentenced Defendant to an effective sentence of twenty-five years. On appeal, Defendant challenges the trial court’s denial of the motion for judgment of acquittal as to the counts for which he was found guilty, the denial of the motion for new trial, and the trial court’s ruling on the admissibility of evidence under Tennessee Rule of Evidence 412. After a thorough review of the record, the applicable authorities, and the issues, we determine the evidence is sufficient to support the convictions, and the trial court properly denied the motion for judgment of acquittal. Further, we determine that the trial court properly determined that specific instances of conduct of prior sexual behavior of the victim were not admissible under Rule 412(c)(4). Additionally, we agree with the trial court’s determination that due process permitted the victim to be subject to cross-examination, limited by Tennessee Rule of Evidence 608. Accordingly, the judgments of the trial court are affirmed.