People v. Hines.
2021 COA 45. No. 17CA0143. Criminal Law—Human Trafficking for Sexual Servitude—Pimping—Pandering—Uniform Mandatory Disposition of Detainers Act—Evidence—Modified Unanimity Instruction—Continuing Course of Conduct—Sentencing.
April 8, 2021
Defendant was charged with human trafficking for sexual servitude, pimping, and pandering. He pleaded not guilty, and a month later he filed a request for disposition of his case under the Uniform Mandatory Disposition of Detainers Act (UMDDA). The trial court later granted two continuances, and defendant’s counsel filed a motion to dismiss for violation of the UMDDA. The court denied the motion. Defendant was found guilty as charged.
On appeal, defendant contended that the district court erred by finding good cause for the prosecution’s continuance request and denying his motion to dismiss. The UMDDA requires that an incarcerated defendant be brought to trial within 182 days after the court and the prosecuting official receive his or her request for final disposition of charges, unless, as relevant here, that period is extended for good cause. Here, the UMDDA deadline was exceeded, but the court properly found good cause to extend the deadline based on the prosecution’s request for a continuance due to the victim’s unavailability. Accordingly, the court did not err by denying defendant’s motion to dismiss.
Defendant also argued that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction for human trafficking. However, the evidence sufficiently supported a finding that defendant enticed, recruited, or transferred the victim with the intent to induce her (by using or threatening to use force or by controlling her access to drugs) to engage in prostitution.
Defendant further argued that the court erred by admitting (1) a photograph of him holding a gun, (2) a detective’s testimony that he found a music video link titled “ImaPimp” on defendant’s Facebook page, and (3) the victim’s testimony that a photo showed another girl who worked for defendant. The photograph of defendant holding a gun and the Facebook post were relevant and not unfairly prejudicial. Although the photograph of the other girl was not relevant, any error was harmless in light of other evidence. Accordingly, the court did not err.
Defendant also contended that the court erred by failing to give a modified unanimity instruction on the human trafficking charge because the prosecution presented evidence of two discrete acts, either one of which could have constituted the offense of trafficking. However, the human trafficking offense was charged and tried as a continuing course of conduct constituting a single transaction, so a modified unanimity instruction was not required, and the district court did not err.
Defendant further contended that the district court erred by imposing an aggravated sentence based on its own factual finding, rather than a jury finding, that he was under confinement when he committed the charged offenses. A defendant’s status as “under confinement” in a halfway house is a fact that falls under the prior conviction exception and is exempt from the jury trial requirement. Therefore, the court did not err.
The judgment and sentence were affirmed.