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Jurisdiction: Alaska Supreme/Appellate Courts
Decision Date: 7/1/2015



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Teganlakla v. State Teganlakla v. State (Alaska App., 2015)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        JOHN TEGANLAKLA, Appellant,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        STATE OF ALASKA, Appellee.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Court of Appeals No. A-11284No. 6199

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        COURT OF APPEALS OF THE STATE OF ALASKA

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        July 1, 2015

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        JOHN TEGANLAKLA, Appellant, v. STATE OF ALASKA, Appellee.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Court of Appeals No. A-11284No. 6199

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        COURT OF APPEALS OF THE STATE OF ALASKA

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        July 1, 2015


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Memorandum decisions of this Court do not create legal precedent. See Alaska Appellate Rule 214(d) and Paragraph 7 of the Guidelines for Publication of Court of Appeals Decisions (Court of Appeals Order No. 3). Accordingly this memorandum decision may not be cited as binding authority for any proposition of law.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Trial Court No. 4SM-10-171 CR

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        MEMORANDUM OPINION

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Appeal from the Superior Court, Fourth Judicial District, Bethel, Ethan L. Windahl, Judge.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Appearances: Dan S. Bair, Assistant Public Advocate, Appeals and Statewide Defense Section, and Richard Allen, Public Advocate, Anchorage, for the Appellant. Elizabeth T. Burke, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Criminal Appeals, Anchorage, and Michael C. Geraghty, Attorney General, Juneau, for the Appellee.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Before: Mannheimer, Chief Judge, Allard, Judge, and Hanley, District Court Judge.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Judge MANNHEIMER.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                John Teganlakla appeals his conviction for second-degree sexual assault (sexual penetration of a person who was either incapacitated or unaware that a sexual act

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Page 2

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        was occurring). Teganlakla argues that the trial judge committed error by refusing to allow Teganlakla's attorney to introduce testimony concerning the victim's prior relationship with Teganlakla. For the reasons explained in this opinion, we conclude that the trial judge's ruling was proper, and we therefore affirm Teganlakla's conviction.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Underlying facts

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                On the night of October 29-30, 2010, a resident of Marshall named D. O. went to a friend's house and drank approximately two quarts of homebrew. As a result, she became intoxicated. D. O. then walked to Vivian Teganlakla's house to socialize with friends. When D. O. arrived at the house, she was noticeably drunk: according to a witness, D. O. was staggering and her voice was slurred.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                After arriving at Vivian's house, D. O. went to the bathroom. Melonie Coffey, who was also at Vivian Teganlakla's house that morning, testified that she was in the bathroom when D. O. entered. She testified that D. O. came into the bathroom, leaned against the washing machine, then sat down, and ultimately passed out. Coffey left D. O. lying unconscious on the bathroom floor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                About an hour after D. O. arrived at Vivian Teganlakla's house, Vivian's brother John (the defendant) also arrived.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                John Teganlakla was also intoxicated. Shortly after he arrived, Teganlakla went into the bathroom, at about the same time that many other people at the house went outside onto the porch to smoke.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                One of the people at the house, Ariel Andrew, did not go outside to smoke. Instead, she lay down on Vivian Teganlakla's bed. While she was lying there, Andrew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Page 3

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        began hearing movement in the bathroom. When the sound from the bathroom became increasingly loud, Andrew went to investigate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Andrew found D. O. lying on the bathroom floor, with John Teganlakla on top of her. D. O. was limp, her eyes were closed, and her pants and underwear were either pulled down or off. Teganlakla's pants and underwear were also off. As Andrew later explained, "It was obvious that they were having sex. "

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Andrew went to summon help. With the aid of Coffey, she pushed Teganlakla off of D. O. and dragged D. O. away. According to Coffey, D. O. remained "passed out" during this time. But Teganlakla was not passed out. According to Andrew, Teganlakla "went crazy" when she and Coffey pulled D. O. away. He told Andrew and Coffey that he was "going to kill them for taking his woman away. "

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                After Andrew and Coffey pulled D. O. away from Teganlakla, they woke her up. After D. O. awoke, she stood up, pulled up her clothing, and walked into the bedroom (either by herself or with Coffey's help). But Andrew testified that even though D. O. was awake, she was "spaced out" and did not seem aware of what was going on. Vivian Teganlakla testified that, while D. O. was on the bed, John Teganlakla was trying to talk to her, but D. O. "would open her eyes and look around", and then "just . . . lay on that bed. "

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                John Teganlakla was subsequently charged with one count of second-degree sexual assault for engaging in sexual penetration with a person who he knew was incapacitated or who he knew was unaware that a sexual act was being committed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Page 4

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The evidentiary issue presented in this appeal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                At Teganlakla's trial, D. O. testified on direct examination that she was not friends with Teganlakla, although she knew who he was. D. O. further stated that she had never been romantically involved with Teganlakla, that she had never consented to have sex with him, and that she did not consent to have sex with him on the night of the incident.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The defense did not cross-examine D. O. concerning any of her statements about her relationship (or lack of relationship) with Teganlakla. But when Teganlakla's nephew Paul testified during the State's case, he volunteered that he had something to say to the jury. Based on this remark, the trial judge excused the jury and allowed the attorneys to question Paul about what he wished to say.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                In his voir dire testimony outside the presence of the jury, Paul asserted that D. O. and her sister had visited his uncle's house several times, and that he himself had seen D. O. either approaching or leaving Teganlakla's house a few times.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Paul also testified that it was well known in Marshall that D. O. "used to go there and use him for his money. " But Paul admitted that he himself had no personal knowledge of this — no knowledge of why D. O. went to his uncle's house, or what she did there. Because Paul had no personal knowledge of these matters, his proposed testimony was barred by Evidence Rule 602. (This rule forbids witnesses from testifying about a matter unless there is "sufficient evidence to support a finding that the witness has personal knowledge of the matter. ")

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                When the prosecutor asked how Paul's proposed testimony about D. O. 's visits to Teganlakla's house was relevant to the accusation that Teganlakla engaged in sexual penetration with D. O. when she was incapacitated, the defense attorney responded

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Page 5

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        that Paul's testimony was relevant because "D. O. testified that she didn't know him except as another resident of the village, and that she never had contact with him. So this goes directly to her credibility. "

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                After considering these arguments, the trial judge concluded that Paul's testimony on this point was not admissible — because, to the extent the proposed testimony was relevant, it was only relevant to impeach D. O. on a collateral matter:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                On appeal, Teganlakla challenges this evidentiary ruling. He now argues that Paul's proposed testimony was relevant on the issue of whether D. O. would willingly engage in sex with Teganlakla.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Teganlakla suggests that, had Paul's testimony been admitted, the defense attorney could have argued that D. O. lied about her relationship (or lack of relationship) with Teganlakla because she did not want to publicly acknowledge that she was, in fact, conscious during this incident and willingly had sex with an older man. (Although the record is unclear, D. O. was apparently 19 years old at the time, while Teganlakla was 53 years old. )

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                This is a potential argument in favor of admitting the evidence, but this argument was not presented to the trial judge. At trial, the defense attorney's only argument in favor of the proposed testimony was that it "went directly to D. O. 's credibility", because it was inconsistent with D. O. 's testimony that she was not friends with Teganlakla.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                But in his ruling, the trial judge declared that, "so far as he could tell at that point", the evidence was undisputed that D. O. was "so intoxicated that she was passed out, or blacked out, or whatever", and so "D. O. 's credibility was not at issue. " When the trial judge stated that there was nothing to indicate that D. O. 's credibility was going to be at issue in Teganlakla's trial, the defense attorney did not disagree, nor did the defense attorney attempt to further refine his argument (i. e to elucidate any theory of how D. O. 's credibility might be at issue).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                In essence, Teganlakla now argues that the trial judge committed error because the proposed testimony was relevant under a theory that the defense attorney never articulated. But as the Alaska Supreme Court explained in Jones v. State 576 P.2d 997 1001 (Alaska 1978), a defendant who unsuccessfully offers evidence at trial for a specific purpose is not allowed to obtain reversal on appealby showing that, even though the trial judge properly rejected the evidence on the ground offered, the evidence might have been admissible on other grounds.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                We therefore uphold the judge's evidentiary ruling.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                In a related argument, Teganlakla contends that the prosecutor turned D. O. 's credibility into a relevant issue at trial during his final argument. According to Teganlakla, the prosecutor argued to the jury that D. O. must have been unconscious during the incident in this case because she had no personal relationship with Teganlakla, and she would have resisted him if she had been conscious. Thus, according to

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Teganlakla, the prosecutor made D. O. 's lack of relationship with Teganlakla a "critical" component of the State's case.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                It is true that, during his summation to the jury, the prosecutor asserted that D. O. did not know Teganlakla and would not have been involved with him. However, this was not the focus of the prosecutor's argument regarding D. O. 's incapacitation or lack of awareness. Rather, to establish the element of D. O. 's incapacitation or lack of awareness, the prosecutor relied on the testimony of the multiple witnesses who were present at Vivian's house during this incident and who uniformly reported that D. O. was passed out at the time of the offense. The prosecutor also relied on Ariel Andrew's testimony that she felt the need to summon help when she discovered D. O. and Teganlakla in the bathroom together.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                We therefore reject Teganlakla's contention that the prosecutor turned the lack of relationship between D. O. and Teganlakla into an integral component of the State's case.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The judgement of the superior court is AFFIRMED.



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Sitting by assignment made pursuant to Article IV, Section 16 of the Alaska Constitution and Administrative Rule 24(d).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 AS 11. 41. 420(a)(3).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 AS 11. 41. 420(a)(3)(B) or (C).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Paul is Vivian Teganlakla's son.




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Sitting by assignment made pursuant to Article IV, Section 16 of the Alaska Constitution and Administrative Rule 24(d).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 AS 11. 41. 420(a)(3).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 AS 11. 41. 420(a)(3)(B) or (C).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Paul is Vivian Teganlakla's son.


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