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People v. Daniels

Court of Appeals of Michigan

July 2, 2015

PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
DANIEL GEARY DANIELS, Defendant-Appellant

Editorial Note:

This opinion is subject to revision before final publication in the Michigan Court of Appeals reports.

Page 733

Macomb Circuit Court. LC No. 2012-003996-FC.

For PEOPLE OF MICHIGAN, Plaintiff-Appellee: EMIL SEMAAN, MT. CLEMENS, MI.

For DANIELS DANIEL GEARY, Defendant-Appellant: KRISTIN LAVOY, DETROIT, MI.

Before: SAAD, P.J., and M. J. KELLY and SHAPIRO, JJ.

OPINION

Page 734

[311 Mich.App. 259] Henry William Saad, P.J.

Defendant appeals his jury trial convictions of child molestation and abuse. Because defendant's arguments lack merit, we affirm.

I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

This case stems from defendant's physical and sexual abuse of two of his daughters, A.D. and OD. After employees at Care House interviewed A.D. and OD in July 2012,[1] the prosecution charged defendant with (1) two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, [311 Mich.App. 260] MCL 750.520b(1)(a); (2)

Page 735

three counts of second-degree child abuse, MCL 750.136b(3); and (3) one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, MCL 750.520c(1)(a). The charges related exclusively to defendant's abuse of A.D. and OD.

A. DEFENDANT'S REQUEST FOR AN EXPERT WITNESS

Over a year before trial, defendant's initial trial attorney requested the appointment of an expert witness to testify on forensic interviewing techniques used to interview victims of child molestation. The trial court awarded $1,500 in public funds to defendant for this purpose in April 2013 and suggested that defendant's trial should be scheduled for June 2013. Defendant requested additional time to locate an expert, which the trial court permitted, and the court rescheduled trial for December 2013.

By October 2013, defendant chose to represent himself, albeit with advisory counsel. At this time, his advisory attorney told the court that defendant was in the process of finding an expert to testify on forensic interviewing techniques. Though defendant and advisory counsel promised to contact two prospective expert witnesses within the week, it is unclear whether they contacted one of the potential witnesses, and the other witness told them that he no longer testified in court. Defendant then attempted to secure Dr. Katherine Okla as his expert witness, and, on the day before trial, moved to adjourn the case until she was available to testify, which would not be until at least January 10, 2014. The prosecution objected to the motion and noted that defendant could cross-examine the forensic interviewer--who had actually interviewed A.D. and OD--on the subject of proper interviewing techniques.

[311 Mich.App. 261] The trial court concurred with the prosecution and denied defendant's motion. In so doing, the trial court stated that defendant (1) had delayed trial " for a very long time," (2) failed to explain how the lack of an expert witness would prejudice him, and (3) failed to provide sufficient information regarding Okla's testimony--which raised the possibility that Okla would actually " testify against the interest of the defendant."

During trial, defendant again raised the issue of procuring an expert witness to testify on forensic interviewing, and at defendant's request, the trial court increased the public allotment for an expert witness to $2,000. Despite the trial court's extensive accommodation of his demands, defendant failed to call Okla or any other expert in forensic interviewing.

B. TRIAL

At trial, which took place in December 2013, the jury heard testimony from five of defendant's children, including A.D. and OD, defendant's wife, a neighbor, police officers, the Care House employees who had interviewed A.D. and OD, and defendant himself. The testimony of these witnesses demonstrated that defendant committed multiple acts of child molestation and domestic violence over a period of years.

During the 2000s, defendant and his family lived in a two-bedroom home. Defendant is the father of six children, three daughters and three sons. After his younger son, ND, moved out of the house, defendant stopped sleeping in the marital bedroom and began to sleep on a twin bed in his daughters' room. Defendant also bathed naked with his children, was often alone with them in the bathroom, and instructed his wife to leave the bathroom if she entered it when he was with the children. In general, defendant's wife and

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children [311 Mich.App. 262] testified that defendant's demeanor was generally unpleasant and abusive--he frequently had outbursts of anger, regularly used explicatives to refer to the children in place of their names, ...


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