One Piece Episode 341 [UPD]
I was thrilled to be invited as a guest on one of my favorite podcasts- 99% Invisible after my Scientific American piece about plastic pollution captured some attention on social media. Listen to the episode
One Piece Episode 341
Hey there, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me today. I am really happy to be sitting down at my computer with my gigantic microphone and headphones on talking to you. I just have been postponing all week recording this podcast. I need to get the episode to my producer, Pavel and Angela, and their team that does such an amazing job on the podcast. And the reason why is because I am in the weirdest funk right now.
When Sera was in Warren on business, he usually resided at one of two bed-and-breakfasts, the Burnett House or the Colvin House. Sera testified that he and Deal mainly spent their time together at the bed-and-breakfasts, often just sitting on the porch and talking. Deal testified that they spent very little time together before the first of the two episodes charged in this case. Deal testified that the two did not start a sexual relationship until after her birthday which was just before Thanksgiving. She indicated their consensual encounter took place at the Burnett House. Sera testified that during the course of their relationship he and Deal were intimate on several occasions.
According to Coleman's testimony at trial, the episode on the tape involving her must have occurred one night when Sera visited Coleman in Springfield, Missouri, where Coleman was in college. According to Coleman, Sera called her at school and told her that he was coming through Springfield and that he wanted to take Coleman and some of her friends out for the evening in a limousine. He also told Coleman that he wanted her to go shopping for a new outfit and new pajamas for the evening, and to get her hair done. He was going to rent two rooms at a hotel for them to stay in, and that Coleman could have a friend stay with her in her room. According to Coleman, Sera told her not to tell her parents that he was passing through Springfield.
In response to Coleman's assertions, Sera testified that he and Coleman had an ongoing sexual relationship which included contact in Missouri and in Texas when Coleman came to visit. Sera testified to several encounters with Coleman, and testified that they, too, had videotaped these episodes. Sera also testified that the two had taken still photographs of one another, and the Nancy had found these photos and burned them in the fireplace. Sera stated that Nancy was aware of his relationship with her sister. Sera testified that on the night that he took Coleman and her friends to dinner in Branson, Coleman drank several drinks on the way to and from Branson. He testified that she passed out from the alcohol, and he helped her to bed.
Regarding that test, Dr. ElSohly testified that a person in his lab conducted the test and found the presence of the metabolites, and that he reviewed the test results and signed off on them before returning the results to Dr. Pennington. Finally, Dr. ElSohly testified that after reviewing the videotape of the episodes involving Coleman, Deal, and Hataway, he believed that it was possible that these women were under the influence of Rohypnol, but could not rule out different drugs, as well.
Sera's defense also included the testimony of Mike Narisi, a video and production expert, who testified regarding the videotape. According to Narisi, the original 8mm videotape was the tape used to record the three sexual encounters, but that the tape was edited somehow between the second and third episodes. Narisi testified that the episodes themselves had not been edited, and that the break between the first and second episodes was the natural break caused by the video camera. However, the edit between the second and third episodes was completed by some other type of editing machine, such as a VCR or professional editing equipment, and that it was impossible to tell whether this edit was completed by Sera, who would have had the capability to do the edit, or some other person. Narisi testified that it would be impossible to determine what was edited out of the tape.
*75 On the merits of the sufficiency argument, the State argues that sufficient evidence does exists to affirm the jury's convictions. The State details three episodes involving Deal, including the "Monticello" incident, which was depicted on the videotape, the Greenville trip, and the "Macaroni Grill" incident, which is the subject of this sufficiency challenge. The State notes that Deal testified that in each incident, she was given a drink or several drinks mixed by the defendant and that in each incident she had lapses in memory and felt sick. Regarding the "Macaroni Grill" incident, Deal testified that she only drank approximately one-and-a-half beers and a glass of wine at dinner, but began to feel sick afterwards. She testified that she had a lapse in memory immediately after leaving the restaurant and woke up the next morning in a bedroom at the Burnett House, dressed in a long t-shirt. Deal testified that she felt sick, and remained sick for the rest of the day. The State also details evidence of other encounters that Deal had with Sera, as well as evidence regarding Sera's encounters with other alleged victims. The State asserts that Sera admitted to having Rohypnol, and that he admits "accidentally" drugging Jackie Haygood, who experienced the same symptoms that Deal experienced during the "Macaroni Grill" incident. The State notes that Sera's explanation to each alleged victim was that they had consumed too much alcohol, despite the fact that in most instances, the victims testified that they had not had much to drink. The State notes that, based upon the expert testimony, Deal would not be able to remember the "Macaroni Grill" incident because Rohypnol prevents victims from recalling most or all events once the drug takes effect. The State argues that reversing the conviction based on Deal's inability to recall the events of that night would allow Sera to have "planned, executed and been held blameless for the `perfect rape'." The State argues that Sera's statements about Deal were improbable statements explaining suspicious circumstances and, therefore, are admissible as proof of guilt, citing Thomas v. State, 312 Ark. 158, 847 S.W.2d 695 (1993). Furthermore, they are admissible as indicative of attempts to conceal a crime. Brenk v. State, 311 Ark. 579, 847 S.W.2d 1 (1993). Finally, the State argues that the jury could have been confused about which episode was depicted on the videotape, and that variances and discrepancies in the proof go to the weight and credibility of the evidence, and are matters for the fact finder to decide. In addition, the State argues that if this court determines that the evidence was not sufficient to support a rape conviction, the charge can be reduced to one of attempted rape.
In his second point on appeal, Sera argues that the trial court erred in admitting evidence under Ark. R. Evid. 404(b) because, while the court carefully analyzed the competing interests in making its Rule 404(b) determination, the admission of the evidence was more prejudicial than probative, resulting in a guilty verdict based on this evidence. Specifically, Sera notes that the trial court conducted a "lengthy 404(b) hearing" and issued a seven-and-one-half page order allowing in the videotape evidence and the testimony of Hataway and Coleman. However, Sera argues that the trial court erred in determining that this evidence was more probative than prejudicial under Ark. R. Evid. 403. Sera maintains that the fact that the jury convicted him of rape in the "Macaroni Grill" incident clearly shows that the jury used the Rule 404(b) evidence as proof of guilt. The State argues that the videotape and testimony of Hataway and Coleman were offered to show Sera's modus operandi, a legitimate and permissible reason for admission of the evidence under Rule 404(b). Because each episode with each victim was so similar, the evidence was highly probative and far outweighed any prejudice.
When a trial court has admitted evidence under 404(b), we will not reverse absent a showing that the court manifestly abused its discretion. McGehee, supra. Sera acknowledges that the court thoroughly and thoughtfully considered the matter and determined that the evidence was both relevant and less prejudicial than probative. However, Sera considers the court to have abused its discretion. We disagree. In considering modus operandi, we do consider conduct in an unrelated incident against a third party. See, e.g., Dillon v. State, 311 Ark. 529, 844 S.W.2d 944 (1993); Frensley v. State, 291 Ark. 268, 724 S.W.2d 165 (1987). The test used by this court is uniqueness of the methodology employed and striking similarity. Id. Indeed, in this case there was a striking similarity in Sera's conduct with respect to each of the women who testified. The evidence introduced through and about Coleman and Hattaway was highly relevant to prove Sera's modus operandi, scheme, or plan, from the initial courting of each of these women to the manner in which he ended each of the sexual episodes on the videotape with a similar degrading sex act. Each woman testified similarly to the way he flattered them, showered them with gifts, mixed their drinks, and his common explanation for their lost memories. We cannot say the trial court abused its discretion in admitting this evidence.
The State responds on this point by noting that this case illustrates precisely the prudence of a rape-shield statute. The legislature enacted it to prohibit a defendant from raising uncorroborated accounts of previous sexual encounters with the victim. The State argues that the alleged evidence of a prior sexual encounter was irrelevant where Haygood denied the encounter and Sera denies even attempting to have sex with Haygood in the episode at issue in the trial. Furthermore, regarding the legitimacy of the statute, the State argues that this court has the prerogative to adopt the rape shield statute as a rule, but that the court has also deferred to and acknowledged the legislature's responsibility for amending the statute and has even recognized appeals under the statute in the criminal procedure rules. Finally, this court has recognized that the right to present a defense is not without limitation, and that this statute is an authorized limitation in appropriate circumstances of that right. 041b061a72