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Contreras v. United States

Court of Appeals of Columbia District

August 6, 2015

ESPERANZA CONTRERAS, APPELLANT,
v.
UNITED STATES, APPELLEE

Argued September 17, 2014

Appeal from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. (DVM-768-13). (Hon. Fern Flanagan Saddler, Motions Judge). (Hon. Michael Ryan, Trial Judge).

Gregory W. Gardner for appellant.

Lauren R. Bates, Assistant United States Attorney, for appellee.

Ronald C. Machen Jr., United States Attorney at the time the brief was filed, and Elizabeth Trosman, Elizabeth H. Danello, and Ann K. H. Simon, Assistant United States Attorneys, were on the brief for appellee.

Vincent H. Cohen, Jr., Acting United States Attorney, and Elizabeth Trosman, John P. Mannarino, Ann K. H. Simon, and Lauren R. Bates, Assistant United States Attorneys, were on the supplemental brief for appellee.

Before WASHINGTON, Chief Judge, MCLEESE, Associate Judge, and BELSON, Senior Judge.

OPINION

Page 1272

McLeese, Associate Judge

Appellant Esperanza Contreras challenges her conviction for assaulting her daughter, in violation of D.C. Code § 22-404 (a)(1) (2012 Repl.). Ms. Contreras argues that the trial court erroneously denied her request for a jury trial and that the evidence was insufficient to support her conviction. We affirm.

I.

The government's evidence at trial indicated the following. Ms. Contreras's sixteen-year-old daughter left Ms. Contreras's home with a friend. When they returned, Ms. Contreras was " very mad," because she thought that her daughter and her daughter's friend had been gone too long and because her daughter had not answered Ms. Contreras's telephone calls. Ms. Contreras questioned her daughter about arriving home late, which led to an argument. During the argument, Ms. Contreras slapped her daughter in the face, causing her daughter's nose to bleed. Ms. Contreras's daughter had not touched Ms. Contreras before the slap.

Ms. Contreras's daughter phoned her father and asked him to come pick her up. The police then arrived, apparently because Ms. Contreras had called them earlier, when she was concerned that her daughter was missing. After advising Ms. Contreras that it was " okay" for her to hit her daughter, the police left. Ms. Contreras then began to punch and scratch her

Page 1273

daughter and pull her daughter's hair. After Ms. Contreras's daughter complained that she could not breathe, Ms. Contreras stopped hitting her daughter. Ms. Contreras then said that she was having a heart attack and threatened to kill herself. Ms. Contreras's daughter called for an ambulance. At some point during the incident, Ms. ...


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