A motion for a directed verdict is a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence. On appeal from the denial of a motion for a directed verdict, the sufficiency of the evidence is tested to determine whether the verdict is supported by substantial evidence, direct or circumstantial.
Defendant was convicted as an accomplice of two counts of rape and one count of second-degree sexual assault for acts committed against her daughter by two different men who had resided with defendant. Defendant was sentenced to a total of 60 years' imprisonment. On appeal, the court found that the trial court did not err in denying defendant's motions for a directed verdict. The court affirmed defendant's convictions.
Did the trial court err in denying defendant's motions for a directed verdict in her trial as an accomplice to sexual assaults.
Defendant, as a parent, had a legal duty to protect her daughter from the men. Defendant's silence, knowledge, concealment, and failure to inform law enforcement officers of the sexual assaults committed against her daughter made her an accomplice to those assaults under Ark. Code Ann. § 5-2-403(a)(1)-(3) (1997). There was no doubt that defendant was aware that the men were raping her daughter at various times when the girl was between eight or nine and 15 years of age. It was not error for the trial court to give a jury instruction regarding the parental duty to protect children from abuse. Finally, the trial court did not err in admitting statements that one of the men, as a co-defendant, made to the investigating detective. Defendant's reliance on the last sentence of Ark. R. Evid. 804(b)(3) was unavailing.