APPEAL FROM CRIMINAL DISTRICT COURT ORLEANS PARISH. NO. 509-365, SECTION " F" . Honorable Robin D. Pittman, Judge.
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
Leon A. Cannizzaro, Jr., District Attorney, Donna Andrieu, Chief of Appeals, Christopher J. Ponoroff, Assistant District Attorney, Parish of Orleans, New Orleans, LA, COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE/STATE OF LOUISIANA.
Powell W. Miller, LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT, New Orleans, LA, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT.
Court composed of Judge Dennis R. Bagneris, Sr., Judge Paul A. Bonin, Judge Rosemary Ledet.
PAUL A. BONIN, Judge
[2014-0623 La.App. 4 Cir. 1] Anthony Farrier was found guilty by a jury of the sexual battery of Admirabilis, an unrelated, six-year old girl who resided with him in the same home. Mr. Farrier was then sentenced to a term of imprisonment of seventy-five years at hard labor,
which falls within the statutorily-authorized sentencing range. See La. R.S. 14:43.1(C)(2). Mr. Farrier appeals his conviction but not his sentence.
Mr. Farrier first assigns as error the trial judge's refusal to permit him to elicit opinion testimony from Dr. Bradley McAuliff, a professor and research psychologist, regarding young children's memory and suggestibility. After hearing from Dr. McAuliff outside of the presence of the jury, the trial judge decided that his opinion testimony would only serve to confuse the jury. Finding no error of law in her ruling, we conclude that the trial judge did not abuse her discretion in excluding his proposed expert testimony.
[2014-0623 La.App. 4 Cir. 2] Mr. Farrier next assigns as error the trial judge's admission into evidence of recordings of three telephone conversations to which Mr. Farrier was a party, each of which was initiated by him while being detained awaiting trial. After considering each of Mr. Farrier's objections at trial individually, we find that the trial judge did not abuse her considerable discretion by admitting that evidence at the close of the prosecution's case-in-chief.
Accordingly, we affirm Mr. Farrier's conviction and sentence. We explain our decision in greater detail below.
In this Part we set forth the facts pertinent to our review of Mr. Farrier's assignments of error.
Admirabilis was six-years old at the time of this offense. Shortly after Admirabilis' birth, her mother, Ms. Jones, placed her in the care of Rashelle Farrier, whom Admirabilis refers to as " Nanny." Ms. Jones testified that this arrangement was necessary due to her struggles with drug addiction and that Ms. Farrier's home provided Admirabilis with a stable place to live. Admirabilis lived with Ms. Farrier until Ms. Farrier's relationship with Ms. Jones' ex-boyfriend ended. At that point, Admirabilis was placed in the care of Shirley Hunter, who lived next door to Ms. Farrier in the other half of a shotgun double. The others [2014-0623
La.App. 4 Cir. 3] living in Ms. Hunter's home, off-and-on, besides Admirabilis, included Ms. Hunter's boyfriend, Charles Mitchell, her two teenaged sons, and Mr. Farrier. Mr. Farrier is the adult brother of Nanny and lived in Ms. Hunter's living room on the couch. Admirabilis remained in Ms. Hunter's home despite Ms. Jones' graduation from a drug program because of Ms. Jones' decision to remain in Baton Rouge; Ms. Jones instead chose to visit with Admirabilis and her other children " once or twice per month."
On the occasion of her brother's funeral, Ms. Jones came to New Orleans and decided to visit with Admirabilis, picking her up for an overnight stay with her aunt. While bathing Admirabilis that evening, Ms. Jones noticed that Admirabilis was hypersensitive and reacted in pain when touched in her genital area; and, upon closer examination, the mother observed
redness and swelling. Admirabilis then told Ms. Jones that Mr. Farrier touched her in that area, watched " nasty movies" with her, and had her imitate what happened during the films.
Ms. Jones immediately brought Admirabilis to the emergency room at Children's Hospital. Admirabilis was examined by Anne Troy, a nurse practitioner. Genital and rectal swabs were taken pursuant to a sexual assault kit, which did not detect any sperm in those areas. The New Orleans Police Department was also contacted, and the police investigation began.
Detective Jounay Thomas-Ross, a member of the Child Abuse Unit, was dispatched to Children's Hospital in response to this allegation of sexual abuse. [2014-0623
La.App. 4 Cir. 4] Ms. Jones, in her statement to Detective Thomas-Ross, provided Mr. Farrier's name along with the address where the incident occurred.
Admirabilis then left Children's Hospital and was taken home by her father, Richard Collins, for the evening. Detective Thomas-Ross located Mr. Farrier's picture in the MOTIONS program. Detective Thomas-Ross' supervisor, Sergeant Arnold Williams, then went to the home and conducted a single-photo " show-up" identification from which Admirabilis positively identified Mr. Farrier as her abuser. Admirabilis signed and dated the back of the picture. A six-photo " showup" identification procedure was not deemed necessary because Admirabilis lived with Mr. Farrier and thus could easily identify him.
The next day Admirabilis went to the Child Advocacy Center to be interviewed by Nurse Practitioner Troy. The interview was monitored by Detective Thomas-Ross and recorded on video. These interviews consist of a medical examination of the victim, then a forensic interview where questions are asked of the child to explain what occurred during the potentially-criminal incident.
The forensic interview of Admirabilis was conducted in the " balloon room" at the Child Advocacy Center. During that interview, Admirabilis, following some reluctance to disclose and visibly nervous, provided a clear and detailed history of the sexual abuse. She indicated that Mr. Farrier had engaged in oral, anal, and vaginal sex with her and had used spit and lotion as lubrication for such acts. Admirabilis identified where she was abused using a diagram of the human body and stated that the abuse occurred in Ms. Hunter's home on a daily basis whenever Admirabilis and Mr. Farrier were alone in the house. Admirabilis also stated that Mr. Farrier would show her " nasty videos" on his computer, and then Mr. Farrier would tell Admirabilis to imitate what they were doing in that video in various [2014-0623
La.App. 4 Cir. 5] states of undress. Detective Thomas-Ross watched the interview in an adjoining room and was able to communicate with Nurse Practitioner Troy throughout the interview via an earpiece.
Following a successful identification, Detective Thomas-Ross applied for and obtained an arrest warrant for Mr. Farrier and a search warrant for the residence. Detective Thomas-Ross then went to the Admirabilis' home on Piety Street in New Orleans; Mr. Farrier answered the door and was immediately placed under arrest. The police then entered the home and seized a laptop computer belonging to Mr. Farrier.
Following his arrest, Mr. Farrier was held in custody awaiting trial. During this time, he placed numerous calls on the telephone. These calls were recorded by the jail, and the jury listened to three of the recordings. The ...