January 16, 2018
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia,
(CF1-13804-14), (Hon. Rhonda Reid-Winston, Trial Judge)
Soltis, with whom Paul Y. Kiyonaga and Marcus Massey,
Washington, were on the brief, for appellant.
Ament, with whom Channing D. Phillips, United States Attorney
at the time the brief was filed, and Elizabeth Trosman,
Washington, John P. Mannarino, Kenechukwu O. Okocha, Akhi
Johnson, and Eric S. Nguyen, Assistant United States
Attorneys, were on the brief, for appellee.
Glickman and Fisher, Associate Judges, and Ferren, Senior
Appellant, Levi Ruffin, was convicted after a jury trial of
the following offenses: first-degree burglary while armed;
kidnapping while armed; third-degree sexual abuse while
armed; attempted robbery while armed; assault with a
dangerous weapon; and assault with significant bodily injury.
In this appeal, he contends the evidence was insufficient to
sustain his convictions for first-degree burglary and
kidnapping, and that the trial court erred in denying his
motions to exclude DNA test results and a knife found in his
possession at the time of his arrest. Concluding that these
contentions lack merit, we affirm appellants convictions.
I. The Evidence at Trial
complaining witness at appellants trial, whom we shall refer
to as J.C., testified that a man wielding a silver folding
knife attacked her when she arrived home on the evening of
September 14, 2013. J.C. lived at the time in one of three
apartments in a row house in Northwest Washington, D.C. Her
assailant, who was later identified as appellant, came up
behind her as she was unlocking the front door to the
building. Putting his hand over her mouth and holding the
knife to her face, appellant told her not to move and to drop
what she was holding. He then pushed J.C. through the
entrance into the common hallway of the row house, followed
her in, and closed
the door behind them. Alone with her in the hallway, and
continuing to hold the knife to her face, appellant demanded
her money. J.C. started to hand him her debit and credit
cards, but appellant slapped them away. He then lifted her
dress and rubbed his fingers against her genital area through
that point, J.C. grabbed the hand in which appellant was
holding the knife and pushed him away. A fight ensued, during
which appellant bit J.C. on her left cheek and her back. She
yelled at him to stop. He pushed her to the floor and fled
out the front door of the row house. After he was gone, J.C.
went into her apartment and called the police.
neighbor in an apartment down the hallway heard and saw part
of the attack through the peephole of her door and called the
police. The recording of that call was played at trial. It
captured over 90 seconds of the assault.
was taken to the hospital by ambulance. She was treated for
the bite wounds on her cheek and back, and for a lacerated
finger (which required six stitches) and other knife cuts on
her hands. A nurse swabbed J.C.s bite wounds for biological
evidence that could help identify her attacker.
several months, the police acquired information linking
appellant to the assault. In August 2014, officers went to
his apartment to arrest him. In a pair of jeans that
appellant asked to put on, the officers found a folding knife
with a silver blade and a black handle. Over appellants
objection to its relevance, this knife was admitted in
evidence against him at trial, along with the parties
stipulation that it had been in appellants possession
"as early as November 2, 2013" (i.e., about seven
weeks after the assault on J.C.).
testing identified appellant as J.C.s assailant. Two
forensic scientists from the District of Columbia Department
of Forensic Sciences (DFS) testified that they received and
tested the swabs taken from J.C.s cheek and back wounds and
a swab taken from appellants cheek following his arrest in
this case. These scientists performed the extraction,
quantification, and amplification of DNA from each of those
sources and generated DNA profiles from them for subsequent
interpretation and comparison. They did not testify to that
interpretation and comparison, however, because flaws had
been detected in DFSs statistical computation procedures.
These flaws reportedly "resulted in DFSs overstating
the rarity of certain mixture profiles," i.e.,
profiles obtained from samples containing DNA from more than
one person. A panel of experts convened by the ...