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State v. Ghormley

Court of Appeals of Idaho

January 17, 2014

STATE OF IDAHO, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
DANIEL R. GHORMLEY, Defendant-Appellant.

UNPUBLISHED OPINION

2014 Unpublished Opinion No. 330

Appeal from the District Court of the Fifth Judicial District, State of Idaho, Twin Falls County. Hon. G. Richard Bevan, District Judge.

Judgment of conviction for rape, affirmed.

The Roark Law Firm, Hailey, for appellant. D. Doug Nelson argued.

Hon. Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General; Daphne J. Huang, Deputy Attorney General, Boise, for respondent. Daphne J. Huang argued.

PERRY, Judge Pro Tem

Daniel R. Ghormley appeals from his judgment of conviction for rape. He specifically alleges that the district court erred in denying his motion for mistrial based on two statements made by the victim. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.

I.

FACTS AND PROCEDURE

Ghormley was charged with rape for having vaginal intercourse with the victim while she was unconscious or unable to resist due to an intoxicating, narcotic, or anesthetic substance. I.C. § 18-6101. The victim met with a mutual friend at a local bar. Ghormley and another individual, neither of whom the victim was previously acquainted with, later joined them. Near closing time, the group left to get food and alcohol. They then went to Ghormley's apartment, where he lived with his fiancée, to continue drinking and socializing. The victim became intoxicated and fell asleep in the living room, so Ghormley's fiancée and the victim's friend helped her to a spare bedroom to sleep for the night.

After everyone else was asleep, Ghormley went into the bedroom where the victim was staying and proceeded to have intercourse with her while she was unconscious. The victim testified that she only remembered briefly waking up to an unknown individual having intercourse with her from behind before again passing out. Sometime later, she awoke to find herself naked from the waist down and Ghormley lying next to her. She asked Ghormley what had happened, to which he replied that she had just had a bad dream. After immediately calling her stepsister to pick her up, the victim left the apartment and went to a local hospital where a rape examination was performed. Semen was found during the rape examination, and DNA testing identified Ghormley as the source. Ghormley initially denied any knowledge of the incident, but later admitted to his fiancée that he had intercourse with the victim when she was unresponsive and unable to resist. Subsequently, he denied admitting that the victim was unresponsive or unable to resist.

At trial, the victim made two unsolicited statements during her testimony of her belief that she had been drugged. Ghormley objected and moved for a mistrial, arguing that the statements had no basis in the evidence and deprived him of a fair trial. The district court sustained the objection, denied the motion for mistrial, and provided the jury with a curative instruction that the statements were stricken, had no basis in fact, and had to be disregarded. The jury found Ghormley guilty of rape and the ...


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