Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Muhammad

Supreme Court of North Dakota

June 27, 2019

State of North Dakota, Plaintiff and Appellee
v.
Karim Sabur Kabir Muhammad, Defendant and Appellant

          Appeal from the District Court of Grand Forks County, Northeast Central Judicial District, the Honorable Jay D. Knudson, Judge.

          Meredith H. Larson, Assistant State's Attorney, Grand Forks, ND, for plaintiff and appellee.

          Samuel A. Gereszek, East Grand Forks, MN, for defendant and appellant.

          OPINION

          Jensen, Justice.

         [¶1] Karim Sabur Kabir Muhammad appeals from a criminal judgment issued after he was found guilty of gross sexual imposition-victim unaware. On appeal, Muhammad argues the district court erred by admitting recordings of Muhammad's interrogations as evidence without requiring the recordings be published to the jury, by not publishing admitted evidence in open court he was denied the right to a public trial, and by excluding relevant evidence of his prior sexual contact with the victim. We affirm.

         I.

         [¶2] A.I. and a friend were drinking in downtown Grand Forks on the night of October 7, 2017 and into the early morning hours of October 8, 2017. Muhammad, an acquaintance of A.I. and her friend, was also downtown on the night in question. Muhammad agreed to drive the women home. A.I.'s friend was dropped off at the Grand Forks Air Force Base. A.I. and Muhammad proceeded to Muhammad's apartment in Grand Forks. A.I. testified she passed out and awoke to Muhammad having sexual intercourse with her.

         [¶3] A.I. notified law enforcement of the incident and a "pretext call" was initiated. During the "pretext call," Muhammad was recorded admitting to engaging in sexual intercourse with A.I. though she was "passed out," and "couldn't [expletive] stay awake." Muhammad was charged with gross sexual imposition-victim unaware. Prior to trial, Muhammad filed a motion in limine seeking permission to introduce evidence of alleged prior instances of sexual contact between Muhammad and A.I. The State opposed Muhammad's motion and offered its own motion in limine to preclude consent from being used as a defense. Muhammad argued he was seeking to use evidence of past sexual contact to show his state of mind. The district court denied Muhammad's motion and granted the State's motion.

         [¶4] During trial, the State offered and the district court admitted two recordings of Muhammad's interrogations. The two lengthy recordings were not played during trial, though law enforcement personnel did provide testimony regarding the contents of the recordings. Muhammad was found guilty at the conclusion of a three-day trial. On appeal, Muhammad argues the district court erred by admitting the two recordings into evidence without requiring the State to publish the recordings to the jury, the failure to publish the recordings in open court denied him his right to a public trial, and erred by excluding relevant evidence of his prior sexual contact with the victim.

         II.

         [¶5] Muhammad argues the district court erred by admitting the two recordings of his interrogations without requiring the State to publish both recordings in their entirety to the jury. At trial, Muhammad objected to the admission of the interrogation recordings under N.D.R.Ev. 106, commonly referred to as the "Rule of Completeness." Muhammad contends that when a party asserts an objection to a document or recording pursuant to Rule 106, the offering party is required to publish to the jury the entire document or recording. The district court informed Muhammad that he was free to publish the recordings, and Muhammad did publish portions of the admitted recordings to the jury.

         [¶6] We have repeatedly recognized that a trial court has broad discretion in deciding whether to admit evidence or exclude evidence. State v. Wangstad, 2018 ND 217, ¶ 6, 917 N.W.2d 515. A trial court's decision on the admission or exclusion of evidence will be reversed on appeal only for an abuse of discretion. Id. A trial court abuses its discretion in admitting or excluding evidence by acting in an arbitrary, unreasonable, or unconscionable manner. Id.

         [¶7] Rule 106, N.D.R.Ev., provides "[i]f a party introduces all or part of a writing or recorded statement, an opposing party may require the introduction, at that time, of any other part, or any other writing or recorded statement, that in fairness ought to be considered at the same time." In the present case, pursuant to Muhammad's objection under Rule 106 and his demand for completeness, the State offered and the district court received the entire recordings. Muhammad does not contest the foundation for the recordings nor does he assert the recordings were not admissible outside of his contention the admissibility is tethered to publication to the jury through his Rule 106 objection seeking completeness.

         [¶8] Nothing within Rule 106 tethers admissibility of a document or recording to subsequent publication to the jury. To the contrary, once evidence is properly admitted, the evidence goes to the jury. See N.D.C.C. ยง 29-22-04. The explanatory note to Rule 106 also provides the following: "Rule 106 is not a rule of admissibility, but rather one dealing with order of proof[.]" N.D.R.Ev. 106, Explanatory Note. Here, the entirety of the recordings were admitted to satisfy Muhammad's request under Rule 106 for completeness, and he was allowed to publish the recordings to the jury. The district court did not act in an arbitrary, unreasonable, or unconscionable ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.