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  • United States v. Robert FordUnited States v. Robert Ford
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United States v. Robert Ford

United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
726 F.3d 1028 (2013)


Facts

The federal government (plaintiff) prosecuted Robert Ford (defendant) for sexual abuse of an incapacitated person and for kidnapping his victim by means of confinement. The trial evidence established that Christina Weston, her former boyfriend Ford, a cousin, and a friend all spent the night at Weston's house. The next morning, the cousin and the friend heard commotion in Weston's bedroom. When the cousin went to investigate, he saw Ford emerge from the bedroom. Ford told the cousin to go check on Weston. Weston was crying, rocking, and bruised. She told her cousin that Ford was responsible. The cousin took Weston to the hospital, where Weston told the staff that Ford sexually assaulted her, and then barricaded her in her bedroom and took her cellphone to prevent her from reporting the assault. Weston repeated this account at trial, where her testimony was corroborated by rape kit DNA samples and the cousin's and friend's testimony. As to the kidnapping count, the judge instructed the jury that a guilty verdict required the jury to find that Ford seized or confined Weston without her consent, for the purpose of preventing her from reporting a sexual attack. The judge also instructed the jury that they did not need to find Ford guilty of sexual assault to find him guilty of kidnapping. The jury acquitted Ford of sexual abuse but convicted him of kidnapping. On appeal to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, Ford argued that as a matter of law, his acquittal on the sexual assault charge required his acquittal on the kidnapping charge.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Smith, J.)

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