KENNETH GRANT JR v. STATE OF ALASKA

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Court of Appeals of Alaska.

KENNETH GRANT JR., Appellant, v. STATE OF ALASKA, Appellee.

Court of Appeals No. A-10392 Trial Court No. 3UN-05-208 CR No. 5653-

Decided: November 17, 2010

Before:  Coats, Chief Judge, Mannheimer, Judge, and Stewart, Senior Court of Appeals Judge. [Bolger, Judge, not participating.]* Appearances:  Dave Reineke, Assistant Public Defender, and Quinlan Steiner, Public Defender, Anchorage, for the Appellant.   Robert E. Henderson, Assistant District Attorney, Adrienne P. Bachman, District Attorney, Anchorage, and Daniel S. Sullivan, Attorney General, Juneau, for the Appellee.

NOTICE Memorandum decisions of this court do not create legal precedent.  See Alaska Appellate Rule 214(d) and Paragraph 7 of the Guidelines for Publication of Court of Appeals Decisions (Court of Appeals Order No. 3).  Accordingly, this memorandum decision may not be cited as binding precedent for any proposition of law.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND JUDGMENT

In a jury trial conducted by Superior Court Judge Fred Torrisi, Kenneth Grant Jr. was convicted of theft in the second degree 1 and forgery in the second degree.2  Grant appeals, arguing that there was insufficient evidence to support his convictions.   For the reasons explained here, we conclude that the evidence was sufficient, and we therefore affirm Grant's convictions.

Factual and procedural background

At the time of the events in this case, Kenneth Grant worked for an Unalaska seafood processing company called Harbor Crown Seafoods.   This company was owned by John Nordin.

Nanette Bryant owned a grocery and gift store in Unalaska, located in the same building as Harbor Crown Seafoods.   During the spring of 2005, Bryant saw Grant on a daily basis;  Grant would come into her store almost every day.   In early July 2005, Grant asked Bryant if she would cash a bonus check for him before he left for vacation in Hawaii.   The check that Grant presented to Bryant was drawn on John Nordin's personal account, payable to Grant, in the amount of $3500.   Bryant cashed the check for Grant.

About two weeks later, Bryant was notified by her bank that the check she had cashed for Grant was not good and would not be honored.   Bryant reported the matter to the Unalaska Police Department.

Unalaska Police Department Officer John Stewart investigated the case.   Stewart testified that Nanette Bryant told him that the person who gave her the bad check was a man she knew as Kenneth Grant.   Stewart showed Bryant a photographic lineup of six individuals, including Grant, and asked her to identify the person who brought her the check.   Bryant identified the photograph of Kenneth Grant.

At Grant's trial, Bryant took the stand and identified Grant as the person who gave her the check.   Robert Boyce, another employee of Harbor Crown Seafoods, testified that he cleaned Grant's apartment after Grant left.  (Harbor Crown had supplied this apartment to Grant as an employee.)   Boyce testified that when he cleaned the apartment, he found John Nordin's checkbook as well as the keys to John Nordin's office.

John Nordin testified that, sometime in July 2005, his credit union called to see if he had written a check to Grant for $3500.   Nordin testified that he had not written such a check.   When he was shown the check, Nordin said that he had not written it, nor had he given anyone else permission to write the check on his account.

Grant testified in his defense.   He conceded that he went into Bryant's store often when he worked for Harbor Crown Seafoods, and that he had cashed payroll checks there.   But Grant denied ever receiving a bonus check from John Nordin, and he denied cashing such a check at Bryant's store.

Based on this evidence, the jury convicted Grant of theft and forgery.

Why we conclude that there was sufficient evidence to support the jury's verdict

When a court reviews evidence to determine whether it is sufficient to sustain a conviction, the court reviews the evidence in the light most favorable to the verdict.   If the evidence (viewed in that light) is sufficient for reasonable jurors to determine that the defendant's guilt was established beyond a reasonable doubt, then the evidence is sufficient to support the conviction.3

A person is guilty of theft if, “with intent to deprive another of property or to appropriate property of another ․ the person obtains the property of another.” 4  A theft is of the second degree if the value of the property taken is between $500 and $25,000.5  Thus, in order to support Grant's theft conviction, the State needed to show, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Grant intended to deprive another of property, that he did deprive Nanette Bryant of property, and that this property was worth between $500 and $25,000.

A person commits forgery if, with intent to defraud, the person “falsely makes, completes, or alters a written instrument.” 6  A forgery is of the second degree if the forged instrument is a negotiable instrument.7

From the evidence presented at trial, a reasonable jury could conclude that Grant had access to John Nordin's checks, that Grant filled out one of these checks payable to himself in the amount of $3500, and that Grant forged John Nordin's signature on this check.   Knowing that this check was forgery, Grant then negotiated the check by having Bryant cash it, with the intent to steal $3500.

Grant raises several objections to the evidence presented at his trial.   He argues that Bryant's identification of him was compromised by Officer Stewart's use of the photo lineup.   Grant did not object to admission of the photo lineup at trial.   But even if Grant had objected, the evidence does not suggest that Bryant's identification of Grant turned on the photo lineup.

According to the testimony, Bryant identified Kenneth Grant as the person who gave her the bad check during the initial portion of her interview with Officer Stewart, before Stewart showed her the photo lineup.   Bryant testified that she was personally familiar with Grant-because Grant frequently came into her store, and because he had asked her to cash checks before.   Indeed, Grant admitted that he frequently came into Bryant's store and cashed checks there.   There is no reason to believe that the photo lineup influenced Bryant's identification of Grant as the man who gave her the check.

Grant also argues that the evidence against him was insufficient because the State never presented any expert testimony, and he argues that the Unalaska police conducted an inadequate investigation.   In addition, Grant questions the credibility of the State's witnesses.   These are all arguments that Grant was able to make at trial.   But “the weight and credibility of evidence are matters for the jury to consider in reaching a verdict, not for the reviewing court to decide in ruling on the legal sufficiency of the evidence.” 8

For these reasons, we conclude that the evidence was sufficient to support Grant's convictions for forgery and theft.

Conclusion

The judgment of the superior court is AFFIRMED.

FOOTNOTES

1.  FN1. AS 11.46.130(a)(1).

2.  FN2. AS 11.46.505(a)(1).

3.  FN3. Dorman v. State, 622 P.2d 448, 453 (Alaska 1981).

4.  FN4. AS 11.46.100(1).

5.  FN5. AS 11.46.130(a)(1).

6.  FN6. AS 11.46.510(a)(1).

7.  FN7. AS 11.46.505(a)(1).

8.  FN8. Ratliff v. State, 798 P.2d 1288, 1291 (Alaska App.1990).

COATS, Chief Judge.

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