This appeal concerned the sufficiency of evidence to support a jury verdict that Etienne intentionally violated a bond which prohibited him from having contact with “P.J.” ¬†Etienne said the contact was accidental. Due to the deference given to jury findings, ¬†Etienne’s argument failed. ¬†So did his claimed due process violation.
When reviewing the sufficiency of evidence ¬†to support a jury verdict, if there is a possibility “that the trier of fact could have drawn the appropriate inferences from the evidence adduced at trial to find the requisite guilt, an appellate court may not overturn the verdict even if it believes the trier of fact should not have found guilt based on the evidence before it.” Slip op.¬†¬∂4 (quoting State v. Poellinger, 153 Wis. 2d 493, 507, 451 N.W.2d 752 (1990)).
Based on this testimony, the jury could reasonably infer that, regardless why or how the encounter began, Etienne willingly continued to engage in contact with P.J. when he could have chosen to break off contact and leave the scene.¬† Given Etienne‚Äôs testimony, a reasonable jury could have found that Etienne willingly allowed P.J. to get into the car he was in; Etienne and P.J. began arguing; P.J. eventually got out of the car; and Etienne intentionally remained in P.J.‚Äôs presence even after she got out of the car and began yelling at him and kicking the car. Slip op.¬∂11.
Etienne further argued that a conviction based on accidental and unavoidable contact with P.J. violates his right to due process. See e.g. Arciniega v. Freeman, 404 U.S. 4, 5 (1971); Alonza v. Rozanski, 808 F.2d 637, 639 (7th Cir. 1986). U.S. v. Loy, 237 F.3d 251, 268-69 (3rd Cir. 2001). ¬†The court of appeals assumed that this line of cases applies, but held:
Etienne‚Äôs due process argument assumes that his view of the evidence is true.¬† However, I must view the evidence in a light most favorable to the jury‚Äôs verdict.¬† And, as demonstrated, the evidence supports a finding that Etienne had contact with P.J. that was not accidental and that was avoidable.¬†Slip op.¬∂15.