December 8, 2015
briefs: Jamesa J. Drake, Esq., Drake Law, LLC, for appellant
Richard E. Murphy.
Robinson, District Attorney, and Michael Dumas, Stud. Atty.,
Prosecutorial District III, Auburn, for appellee State of
argument: Jamesa J. Drake, Esq., for appellant Richard E.
Dumas, Stud. Atty., for appellee State of Maine.
SAUFLEY, C.J., and ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, and HJELM,
[¶1] Richard E. Murphy appeals from a
judgment of conviction for domestic violence assault with
prior convictions (Class C), 17-A M.R.S. §
207-A(1)(B)(1) (2015), entered in the Superior Court
(Androscoggin County, MG Kennedy, J. ) after a jury
trial. Murphy contends that there was insufficient evidence
to convict him of domestic violence assault because the State
did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he and the
victim were " sexual partners," which is an element
of the offense. See 17-A M.R.S. § 207-A(1)(A)
(2015); 19-A M.R.S. § 4002(4) (2015). We affirm the
[¶2] Viewing the evidence in the light most
favorable to the State, the jury could rationally have found
the following facts beyond a reasonable doubt. See
State v. Cote, 2015 ME 78, ¶ 2, 118 A.3d 805.
On March 20, 2014, Murphy and the victim were at an apartment
in Lewiston when Murphy " put her down on the floor and
put his foot on her face . . . enough so it made her mouth
bleed." A little over a year before this incident, a
Lewiston police officer responding to a noise complaint had
witnessed Murphy and the victim having consensual sexual
intercourse in the basement of an apartment building. Because
the victim did not cooperate in the prosecution of the crime
against her, the only evidence the jury had concerning the
relationship between her and the defendant was that testimony
about a single sexual act.
[¶3] The question before us is whether two
people can be " sexual partners" for the purpose of
domestic violence assault if they have had sexual intercourse