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State v. Robinson

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Second Circuit

February 28, 2018


         Appealed from the First Judicial District Court for the Parish of Caddo, Louisiana Trial Court No. 336, 393 Honorable Katherine C. Dorroh, Judge

          LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT By: Sherry Watters Counsel for Appellant

          STEVEN D. ROBINSON Pro Se

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

          JASON W. WALTMAN TRENEISHA J. HILL REBECCA A. EDWARDS Assistant District Attorneys

          Before PITMAN, STONE, and GASKINS (Ad Hoc), JJ.

          PITMAN, J.

         A unanimous jury convicted Defendant Steven D. Robinson of one count of molestation of a juvenile under age 17 and one count of molestation of a juvenile under age 13. The trial court sentenced him to serve 7 years at hard labor for Count One and to serve 50 years at hard labor for Count Two, with the first 25 years imposed without benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence. The trial court ordered these sentences to run consecutively. The trial court also ordered that for both counts, Defendant pay court costs and a $250 fine to the Indigent Defender's Office and that these costs and fines run concurrently. Defendant appeals. For the following reasons, we affirm Defendant's convictions and sentences.


         The state charged Defendant by bill of information with one count of molestation of a juvenile under the age of 17 and one count of molestation of a juvenile under the age of 13, in violation of La. R.S. 14:81.2. As to Count One, the state alleged that on or about October 9, 2015, Defendant molested Y.S., [1] who was under the age of 17. As to Count Two, the state alleged that on or about January 25, 2011, Defendant molested L.A., who was under the age of 13.

         On November 16, 2015, Defendant filed a motion requesting a pretrial hearing to determine the admissibility of any La. C.E. art. 404(B) evidence the state intended to introduce at trial.

         On June 7 and September 8, 2016, and January 4, 2017, the state provided notice pursuant to La. C.E. art. 412.2 that it intended to use evidence at trial of Defendant's other crimes, wrongs or acts involving sexually assaultive behavior or acts which indicate a lustful disposition toward children. Specifically, the state intended to introduce evidence of molestation of a juvenile, A.F, between June 12, 1982, and June 12, 1984; molestation of a juvenile, T.F., between May 23, 1982, and May 23, 1984; molestation of a juvenile, Y.S., between September 15 and October 10, 2015; and molestation of a juvenile, J.W., between May and August 2001.

         The jury trial began on February 6, 2017. Y.S., born July 23, 1999, lives with her grandmother in Shreveport. She testified that when she was 15 years old, she met Defendant at a party thrown by her mother's friend. She stated that she saw Defendant again a few days after the party when he drove his truck on the street near her house. When she rebuffed his efforts to talk to her, he told her that he knew her dad. He also gave her his phone number to call if she ever needed a ride. She testified that a few days later, she missed the bus to school, so she called Defendant and he took her to school. At the end of the school day, Defendant was waiting at the school, with his four-year-old daughter, and offered her a ride home. She stated that instead of taking her home to her grandmother's house, Defendant took her to his apartment, and she reluctantly went inside. After Defendant prepared food for his daughter, he offered to show Y.S. around the apartment. They went upstairs to his bedroom, and he shut the door to the room, placed her cellphone on the dresser and asked her to sit on his bed. He sat by her on the bed and touched her leg and breasts. She stated that she pushed his hand and told him to stop. He then began undoing his clothing and then held her arm so he could remove her pants and underwear. She stated that he got on top of her and she tried to push him off, but could not do so because he was stronger than her. She testified that he then had sex with her. She noted that she was scared and told him to stop. He then went into the bathroom and she went outside. He told her not to make a scene and get him into trouble. She then got in his truck with him and his daughter, and he drove her home. She did not tell her grandmother what happened.

         Y.S. testified that a few weeks later, she called Defendant and asked for a ride home. She noted that she asked other people for a ride first, but they were unable to help her, and she needed to be home before her curfew. Defendant picked her up in his truck, but instead of taking her to her home, he parked the truck in front of an abandoned house. He got out of the truck, unzipped his pants, reentered the truck and locked the doors. She tried to exit the truck so she could walk home, but she could not open the door. He scooted over near her, started rubbing and touching her and tried to kiss her. She told him to stop, and he told her to be quiet. He pressed up against her so she could not move, pulled down her pants and underwear, got on top of her and had sex with her. She stated that after he drove her home, she did not tell her grandmother what happened because she was scared. She explained that she saw guns in Defendant's truck and apartment, and Defendant told her he would kill her if she said anything.

         Y.S. further testified that she last saw Defendant when she called him and asked for a ride home from a party the night before she was to leave to attend the Youth Challenge Program ("YCP") in South Louisiana. Her grandmother told her the police would come get her if she was not home by her curfew. She asked several people for a ride home, but no one would help her, so she called Defendant. He picked her up; but instead of driving her home, he drove her to the parking lot of an apartment complex and told her that he was waiting on a friend. He started touching her and rubbing her leg and chest and tried to kiss her. He got out of the truck and undid his clothing and then got back in the truck. She told him, "I know you're not fixing to do that again, " and he responded that he was not going to do anything to her. She tried to exit the truck, but the door would not open. Defendant held her down, removed her pants and underwear and had sex with her. He then drove her to her grandmother's house. She explained that she was crying and upset when she got home, and her grandmother asked her what was wrong. She admitted that she lied and told her grandmother she did not want to go to YCP the next day.

         Y.S. also testified that she saw Defendant additional times between these three instances, but nothing happened those times. She noted that Defendant would see her walking to the park or to her grandmother's house and would follow her. One time he came to her grandmother's house, and her grandmother told him not to pick up Y.S. or take her anywhere. Y.S. noted that she turned 16 between the first and last times Defendant raped her.

         Y.S. further testified that she told someone what happened with Defendant when she attended YCP. She believed she could tell someone there because the program was "far away" from Shreveport. She stated that she told one of the instructors at the program, and then she went to the hospital and talked to law enforcement. She remained at the program for three weeks, and then she spoke with a detective in Shreveport when she returned.

         Corporal Randy Clouatre of the Gonzales Police Department testified that he was dispatched to St. Elizabeth Hospital in Gonzales on October 12, 2015, to speak with Y.S. Y.S. told him that the Friday before attending YCP, she was raped by Defendant. Y.S. told her that since June 2015, Defendant had raped her ten or more times. Cpl. Clouatre noted that they were not able to collect any physical evidence from Y.S., including a sexual assault kit, because she had used the bathroom and showered multiple times since the most recent incident. Cpl. Clouatre explained that once he determined that these incidents occurred in Shreveport, he called the Shreveport Police Department.

         B.S., Y.S.'s grandmother, testified that she saw Defendant once when he brought Y.S. home from school. B.S. told him not to take Y.S. anywhere without her permission. She stated that the night before Y.S. left for YCP, she came home crying and said she did not want to attend YCP. While she was attending YCP, Y.S. called B.S. and told her what Defendant had done.

         Detective De'Andre Belle testified that he received a report from the Gonzales Police Department that a 16-year-old female had been sexually assaulted multiple times by Defendant. Det. Belle researched Defendant's name and discovered several reports from women accusing him of sexual assault. He interviewed Y.S. on November 2, 2015, at her grandmother's house; and during this interview, Y.S. called Defendant and he arrived at the interview ten minutes later. Det. Belle explained that he did not arrest Defendant for sexual assault, but took him into custody because he did not have a driver's license. After interviewing Y.S., he contacted other women who had previously accused Defendant of assaults, including L.A. and A.F. A.F. provided him with the name of her older sister, T.F., who had also been molested by Defendant. He stated that after Defendant's arrest was reported on the news, he was contacted by J.W., who also reported being assaulted by Defendant.

         L.A., born on April 19, 1998, testified that in 2010, when she was 12 years old, she and her younger sisters visited her grandmother's house every day after school. Her grandmother lived across the street from Defendant's father, who is L.A.'s uncle. She stated that sometimes when she and her sisters visited their uncle, Defendant would be at his house. During one visit, Defendant told L.A. that he wanted to show her something in a bedroom. He came up behind her, kissed her neck and touched her genitals through the outside of her clothing. He stopped touching her when they heard someone in the hallway. L.A. and her sisters then left their uncle's home. Twenty minutes later, Defendant appeared at L.A.'s grandmother's house with candy and chips for ...

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