State v. Woodard

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State v. Woodard

Case Number
A-14-1094
Call Date
September 16, 2015
Case Time
1:30 PM
Case Summary

A-14-1094, State of Nebraska v. Glenn A. Woodard (Appellant)

District Court for Sarpy County, District Judge William B. Zastera

Attorneys for Appellant: Michael J. Wilson & Jessica P. Douglas (Schaefer Shapiro Law Firm)

Attorney for Appellee: George R. Love (Attorney General's Office)

Criminal Action: Witness tampering

Action taken by the Trial Court: Over Woodard's objections, the trial court admitted exhibit 1 containing audio recordings of Woodard's purported telephone conversations with and concerning the witness at issue in the witness tampering charges. The court found Woodard guilty of witness tampering, and Woodard appealed.

Assignments of Error on Appeal: Did the trial court err in admitting exhibit 1 into evidence? Did the trial court err in overruling Woodard's motion for directed verdict? Did the trial court err in finding the evidence sufficient to convict Woodard of witness tampering?

Extended Case Summary (for Educational Purposes):
A-14-1094, State of Nebraska v. Glenn A. Woodard (Appellant)

District Court for Sarpy County, District Judge William B. Zastera

Attorneys for Appellant: Michael J. Wilson & Jessica P. Douglas (Schaefer Shapiro Law Firm)

Attorney for Appellee: George R. Love (Attorney General's Office)

Criminal Action: Witness tampering

Background: In a separate county court case, the State charged Woodard with three counts of third degree domestic assault and one count of theft by unlawful taking, $200 or less. The county court complaint arose from Woodard's arrest in October 2013 for allegedly assaulting his domestic partner and taking her property. In January 2014, the State charged Woodard in the district court with one count of witness tampering. The State alleged that Woodard tampered with a witness by asking the alleged assault victim to write out a statement concerning the domestic assault and state that what she told the police previously was not true. The State also alleged that Woodard told the victim not to go to court and to avoid a subpoena or not show up if subpoenaed in connection with the assault case.

At trial in the witness tampering case, witnesses testified about the phone system used by inmates in the county jail, the software platform used to provide the automated features of the phone system, and the method by which law enforcement officers are able to search for calls made by inmates. To identify the inmate making a given call, the software platform requires inmates to enter a 'PIN.' Also, before connecting a call, and at regular intervals throughout the call, the phone system compares the original 'voice print' associated with the inmate's PIN to the voice of the inmate on the phone. The phone system stores the audio recordings and all other associated data on off-site computer servers.

Officers searched the phone system for calls made from the jail using Woodard's PIN and for all calls from the jail to the alleged assault victim's number (as inmates often trade PINs). Officers located an audio recording of a phone call made to the assault victim's number from an inmate PIN other than Woodard's in late October 2013. The administrator for the jail phone system downloaded and saved to CD a copy of the audio files of this phone call as well as the files for other calls made from the jail that were made using Woodard's PIN. The CD and associated data printouts were admitted into evidence as exhibit 1 over Woodard's objections. Also, over Woodard's objection, the court allowed an officer investigating charges against Woodard to identify the voices of Woodard, the alleged assault victim, and another individual heard on the CD. The officer testified that he recognized both Woodard's and the assault victim's voices in the late October 2013 call, that Woodard told the victim not to show up for court if subpoenaed and how to recant her previous statement to the police, and that Woodard told the victim she would not get in trouble for changing her story or not showing up for court.

Action taken by the Trial Court: Over Woodard's objections, the trial court admitted into evidence exhibit 1 containing audio recordings of Woodard's purported telephone conversations with and concerning the alleged victim in the domestic assault case. The court overruled Woodard's motion for directed verdict and found Woodard guilty of witness tampering. The court sentenced Woodard to 1 to 3 years' imprisonment and granted him credit for 349 days served. Woodard subsequently perfected his appeal to this court.

Assignments of Error on Appeal: Did the trial court err in admitting exhibit 1 into evidence? Did the trial court err in overruling Woodard's motion for directed verdict? Did the trial court err in finding the evidence sufficient to convict Woodard of witness tampering?

Case Location
Concordia University
Panel Text
Moore, Chief Judge, Pirtle and Bishop, Judges