MARK E. LEWIS, Appellant,
UNITED STATES, Appellee.
Submitted November 10, 2015
On Appeal from the Superior Court (DVM-1153-14) of the District of Columbia Criminal Division Hon. Jennifer M. Anderson, Trial Judge
Charles Burnham was on the brief for appellant.
Vincent H. Cohen, Jr., Acting United States Attorney at the time the brief was filed, and Elizabeth Trosman, Suzanne Grealy Curt, John B. Timmer, and Ann K. H. Simon, Assistant United States Attorneys, were on the brief for appellee.
BEFORE: Blackburne-Rigsby and Thompson, Associate Judges; and Reid, Senior Judge.
This case was submitted to the court on the transcript of record and the briefs filed, and without presentation of oral argument. On consideration whereof, and for the reasons set forth in the opinion filed this date, it is now hereby
ORDERED and ADJUDGED that the appellant's convictions of second-degree theft and attempted threats are affirmed.
Following a bench trial, appellant Mark Lewis was convicted of second-degree theft and attempted threats. The trial court found him guilty of stealing money from and later threatening a romantic acquaintance, Lavonda Brown. On appeal, appellant argues that there was insufficient evidence to sustain either of his convictions. Principally, he argues that his uttered words would not have reasonably caused Ms. Brown to fear "serious bodily harm, " which appellant claims is a required element of our misdemeanor threats offense, as opposed to just "bodily harm." He also argues that his theft conviction should be reversed because no one actually saw him take Ms. Brown's money. We affirm appellant's convictions and clarify that the crime of misdemeanor "threats to do bodily harm" under D.C. Code § 22-407 does not require proof that a defendant threatened "serious bodily harm." Rather, all that is required is that the uttered "words were of such a nature as to convey fear of bodily harm or injury . . . ." Joiner-Die v. United States, 899 A.2d 762, 764 (D.C. 2006).
I. Factual Background
On the night of March 13, 2014, appellant slept at Ms. Brown's apartment, located at 2900 14th Street, Northwest, Washington, D.C. Before going to sleep, Ms. Brown placed her wallet containing $736 underneath her pillow. The next morning, appellant woke up Ms. Brown because her friend, Conovia Eddie, was at the door. Ms. Brown greeted Ms. Eddie, and the two sat down on the couch in the living room to chat while appellant went back by himself into the bedroom, supposedly to watch a movie. A little later, appellant walked out of the bedroom and took out the trash and never came back. Approximately thirty to forty-five minutes later, Ms. Brown walked into her bedroom, observed her pillows in a state of disarray, and found her wallet underneath the bed with the money missing. Panicked, Ms. Brown ran out of the apartment, saw a police officer, and reported that appellant had stolen her money. At trial, Ms. Brown explained that appellant knew that she had "hundreds" in her wallet after he saw her pay for carryout the night before the theft.
Later, on March 20, 2014, Ms. Brown spoke with appellant on the phone about the missing money. During the call, Ms. Brown asked for her money back, and appellant in response denied taking it and threatened to hurt her, stating: "I didn't take your money. Stop playing with me, b. I'll smack the s out of you" and "[g]et you fed up." The trial court credited Ms. Brown's testimony ...