State v. Brake, 279 N.C. App. 416, 2021-NCCOA-496 (Sept. 21, 2021)

In this first-degree rape and second-degree sexual offense case, the trial court did not err in accepting the jury’s verdicts finding the defendant guilty of both offenses despite the fact that first-degree rape requires a finding of infliction of serious personal injury while second-degree rape does not.  Responding to the defendant’s argument that if the jury determined that he had inflicted serious injury on the victim it should have convicted him of first-degree forcible sexual offense rather than the lesser included offense of second-degree forcible sexual offense, the court explained that the verdicts were at most inconsistent rather than mutually exclusive and that there was sufficient evidence of each offense.  The court went on to reason that it was possible that the jury could have determined that the defendant’s infliction of serious personal injury upon the victim was done to accomplish the forcible rape but not the forcible sex offense.