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Sinatra v. United States

Court of Appeals of Columbia District

June 23, 2016

SINATRA V. SUTTON, Appellant,
v.
UNITED STATES, Appellee.

          Submitted June 16, 2015

         Appeal from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia (CMD-13532-13) (Hon. Harold Cushenberry, Jr., Trial Judge)

          Richard S. Stolker was on the brief for appellant.

          Ronald C. Machen Jr., United States Attorney at the time the brief was filed, and Elizabeth Trosman, Nicholas G. Miranda and Edward G. Burley, Assistant United States Attorneys, were on the brief for appellee.

          BEFORE: Fisher and Thompson, Associate Judges; and Ruiz, Senior Judge.

         JUDGMENT

         This case was submitted to the court on the transcript of record, 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 judgment on appeal is affirmed.

          OPINION

          Ruiz, Senior Judge

         Appellant, Sinatra V. Sutton, was convicted, following a bench trial, of one count of misdemeanor sexual abuse of a child and one count of attempted misdemeanor sexual abuse. On appeal, he argues that the trial court erred by permitting the government to amend its superseding information on the day of trial, and by denying his motions for judgment of acquittal and new trial. He also contends that his consecutive sentences for the two convictions violate his rights under the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment. Although we concur with appellant that the trial court erred in permitting the amendment to the information, we conclude that the error does not warrant reversal. We also conclude that the evidence was sufficient to support the convictions and that they do not merge. Therefore, we affirm.

         I.

         Appellant's convictions arise from a complaint made by fifteen-year-old V.A. During the summer of 2013, V.A. was employed as part of the Summer Youth Development Program at the Manor Village Apartment Complex in Southeast Washington, D.C. On August 2, 2013, V.A. was assigned to assist appellant with a cleaning project at a shopping center.

         At approximately 10:00 a.m., [1] appellant and V.A. took a break from their work and went to a nearby storage site. Appellant sat in a chair, took out his cell phone, and began watching a pornographic film. Appellant tried to show V.A. the film by putting his phone close to V.A.'s face.

         Appellant then suggested that he and V.A. move to a room at the back of the storage site, and the two went to the room and sat near each other on milk crates. Appellant continued to watch pornography on his cell phone. At one point, appellant asked V.A. to hold the phone while he left the room; when he returned, ...


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