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State v. Lee

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Second Circuit

August 9, 2017

STATE OF LOUISIANA Appellee
v.
ROOSEVELT D. LEE Appellant

         Appealed from the First Judicial District Court for the Parish of Caddo, Louisiana Trial Court No. 323, 637, Honorable Craig Marcotte, Judge

          LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT Carey J. Ellis, III Counsel for Appellant

          ROOSEVELT D. LEE Pro Se

          JAMES E. STEWART, SR. District Attorney Counsel for Appellee

          TRENEISHA JACKSON HILL JOSHUA K. WILLIAMS REBECCA ARMAND EDWARDS Assistant District Attorneys

          Before WILLIAMS, MOORE, and GARRETT, JJ.

          MOORE, J.

         Roosevelt D. Lee appeals his convictions, by jury verdict, of aggravated battery, indecent behavior with juveniles, and contributing to the delinquency of juveniles, and his sentences totaling nine years at hard labor, plus fines and default time in lieu thereof. For the reasons expressed, we amend to vacate the default time but otherwise affirm.

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         The victim, KM, was 14 years old in May 2014 and lived with her mother and aunt in the Queensborough area of Shreveport. On May 5, she phoned her uncle, JM, in Monroe, to report that her boyfriend, "Roshawn, " had put his hands on her and hit her with a coat hanger. JM was surprised, not knowing that KM even had a boyfriend, and drove to Shreveport to confront Roshawn. By the time he arrived, however, he and KM decided it was better to call the police.

         Corporal Clinton Grigsby was dispatched to Roshawn's house, in the Lakeside area. When he knocked on the door, the person who answered said he was not Roshawn (he claimed that Roshawn was his cousin), but Cpl. Grigsby positively identified him as KM's boyfriend, from pictures on her cellphone. Roshawn's real name was Roosevelt Lee, and he was 46 years old. Cpl. Grigsby placed him under arrest and Mirandized him; Lee denied knowing who KM was. Lee also told a sex crimes unit investigator, Det. Deandre Bell, that he did not know KM.

         The next day, KM was examined by Olivia Jones, a sexual assault forensic examiner at University Health. She told Ms. Jones that while she was at his house, Lee accused her of texting with other men and told her, "I'm gonna treat you like a ho'." He then pulled his pants down, tried several times to stick his penis in her mouth, grabbed her by the neck and choked her, struck her with a coat hanger and an extension cord, and stopped only when her cellphone rang. Ms. Jones confirmed that KM had scratches around her neck and on her left flank, and bruises on her right arm and right thigh, consistent with the conduct she described. Ms. Jones took a rape kit test of KM, including an oral swab, but no DNA was recovered. She was uncertain why she had not been called to examine KM until 24 hours after the initial report.

         About two weeks later, Detective Michael Jones Mirandized Lee, again; this time, Lee admitted he had met KM walking on the street about two or three months earlier, and she started coming to his house to watch movies. He insisted they were "just friends, " with no sexual relationship, but admitted that while "play fighting" with coat hangers, she had hit him, and he hit her back.

         The state charged Lee with indecent behavior with juveniles, R.S. 14:81; second degree battery, R.S. 14:34.1; and contributing to the delinquency of juveniles, R.S. 14:92 A(7). By amended bill of information, the state upgraded the second charge to aggravated battery, R.S. 14:34. Lee proceeded to jury trial over three days in October 2015. In addition to the facts outlined above, both KM and Lee testified extensively.

         KM testified that she knew Lee as "Roshawn, " and met him in February 2014 as she was walking home from school and he offered her a ride. She told him she was 14; she thought he was around 50. She went to his house that day, and then almost daily; after a few attempts at "dry humping, " they started having sex regularly, and she considered him to be her boyfriend. However, they argued often, and he slapped her for refusing to have sex with him. On May 5, while she was in the bathroom, Lee searched her cellphone and saw she had a 16-year-old boyfriend. Lee got angry and called her a "whore." He grabbed her, choked her, threw her on the bed, and hit her in the head, back and buttocks with an extension cord; he then grabbed a clothes hanger and hit her on the arm and head. Next, he pulled down his pants, positioned himself over her face, and tried to make her perform oral sex on him, but she kept her mouth closed. He eventually stopped, and dropped her off near her house. He threatened her not to tell anyone what had just happened. KM added that the last time they had sex was the previous day, May 4. On cross-examination, she admitted all her bruises healed within three or four days.

         KM identified a CD containing photos and audio recordings of herself and Lee, taken from her cellphone, as well as images printed from the CD.[1]She specifically identified a photo of her, taken May 5, 2014, showing a large welt on her buttocks, and one showing redness to her neck, where Lee had struck and choked her. In various audio clips, a male voice is heard to say, "Don't be taking no picture of my thing, " "It's not hard, " and "Come on" - according to KM, spoken by Lee when they were trying to have sex.

         Lee elected to testify and gave a strikingly different account of his relationship with KM. He denied ever using the name "Roshawn" (he said his 11-year-old son has that name), and said that KM never used her real name: she said she was "NuNu." He met KM at the Save-A-Lot store on Jewella Avenue, where she and her mother were shopping, and he gave the mother a business card in case she needed a DJ for a party she was planning. KM came to his house four or five times, but only to borrow CDs or movies; there was no sexual intercourse and no inappropriate sexual contact between them. Lee admitted that he struck KM with a clothes hanger on May 5, but only because she would not stop hitting him. He testified that he is disabled, with diabetes and neuropathy, and had to defend himself. Finally, he never looked at KM's cellphone: it had a security code, and she never disclosed it.

         On rebuttal, KM's mother testified that she had never met Lee, either at Save-A-Lot or anywhere else.

         After deliberating under one hour, the six-member jury unanimously found Lee guilty as charged on all counts.

         The court later sentenced Lee to seven years at hard labor for indecent behavior with juveniles, to a consecutive two years for contributing to the delinquency of juveniles, and to a concurrent two years for aggravated battery, for a total of nine years at hard labor. The court also ...


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