United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
L. HORNSBY U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Parish jury convicted Charles Ray Davis
(“Petitioner”) of three counts of molestation of
a juvenile. He was adjudicated a second-felony habitual
offender on one of the counts, and he received concurrent
sentences of 10, 25, and 58 years. His convictions and
sentences were affirmed on appeal. State v. Davis,
108 S.3d 833 (La.App. 2d Cir. 2013), writ denied,
123 So.3d 163 (La.). He also pursued a post-conviction
application in state court. Petitioner now seeks federal
habeas relief on the basis of insufficient evidence, denial
of the right to present a defense, and four claims of
ineffective assistance of counsel. For the reasons that
follow, it is recommended that his petition be denied.
of the Evidence
Shreveport hospital called the Shreveport Police Department
to report the sexual assault of a child. Detective Deondre
Belle with the Sex Crimes Unit conducted an investigation,
which resulted in Petitioner's arrest for the molestation
of 14-year-old MoT, 13-year-old MG, and 11-year-old MyT.
Petitioner is MG's uncle, and he was in a relationship
with the mother of MyT and MoT, who are sisters. Each of the
three girls was interviewed at the Gingerbread House, a local
advocacy center with employees who are trained to conduct
forensic interviews of children. Sarah Jose testified about
how she conducted the interviews, and audio-video recordings
of the interviews were introduced into evidence. As discussed
below, the three girls each testified live at the trial, and
their video-taped interviews were played for the jury. DVD
recordings and transcripts of the interviews are in the
record at Docs. 23 and 25.
Bobbie Jean Burns
Jean Burns testified that she attended the 13th birthday
party for her granddaughter, MG. There was talk at the
gathering that a young boy said he had sex with MG. Ms. Burns
asked MG to tell her the truth about what happened. The girl
denied having any relationship with the boy, but she burst
out crying and said, “Granny, it was not him.” MG
continued, “It's not him. It was Dolla.” Ms.
Burns explained that Dolla is a nickname for Petitioner, who
is MG's uncle (half-brother to MG's mother). Ms.
Burns summoned MG's mother and told her that the child
had said that it was Dolla and not the boy. MG also told her
grandmother that she had written on the wall in her bedroom
to note what happened.
Burns took MG to the hospital the next morning. On the way,
MG was still crying, and she said it was the truth but no one
would believe her. The prosecutor asked Ms. Burns if MG
explained to her what it meant when she said Dolla did it.
Ms. Burns said she had: “That they had sex.” Ms.
Burns said the child did not tell her how many times they had
sex, but Burns later testified that MG told her,
“Granny, it's the truth. He did. He was in my room
one night. He did, Granny.” MG also told Ms. Burns that
Dolla had sex with one of her friends, MyT. Tr. 250-64.
was 14 at the time of trial, watched her video interview and
testified that her statements in that interview were true. MG
stated in the recorded Gingerbread House interview that she
was then 13 and in the seventh grade. She said that she was
there “because of my uncle, ” and she described
the incidents with him. The first time, he came to her room
and “told me to give him five minutes.” She
asked, “For what?” Petitioner then “started
feeling on me and stuff, ” and MG asked him to move.
She said he “started rubbing on my belly and my
legs” on top of her clothes. He then “took off
his clothes” and “forced hisself on me.”
When asked to explain what that meant, MG said, “He
pushed hisself inside of me.” The examiner later showed
MG drawings of male and female bodies and asked her to
explain what happened when Petitioner forced himself inside
of her. She marked the drawings and said that Petitioner used
his “private part” and forced it inside of her
described another incident when Petitioner “walked in
and he started feeling on me again.” Petitioner stopped
when MG's brother walked in the house. When asked to
explain what happened during the incident, she said,
“He eased up under my shirt” and touched her on
described another time when she was with her cousin MyT. The
girls were in a bed playing when Petitioner entered the room
“and he started feeling on her.” She said that
Petitioner started rubbing or feeling on both girls'
legs. When asked to elaborate where he was feeling on MyT,
she said, “All between her legs.” MG was not sure
if it was on top of or below MyT's clothes because
Petitioner's hand was under the cover. MyT scooted down
in the bed. “And as she was scooting in the bed, he was
getting closer on the bed.” MG said that when
Petitioner felt on her on that occasion it was on her legs,
stomach, and belly “under my clothes.”
courtroom, MG identified photographs of what she had written
on the wall in her bedroom. One writing was dated October 6,
2010 and said, “Dolla drunk, touched me and did
something he had no business.” The other writings were
dated 2010 without more specification. They said,
“Dolla is wrong for what he did, ” “Dolla
touch me in the wrong spot, ” “Dolla did it
again, ” and “Dolla touch My-My (a nickname for
MyT).” Tr. 278-303.
who was 13 at the time of trial, testified about the
incidents and confirmed her statements made in her recorded
interview. She described Dolla/Petitioner as her mother's
boyfriend, who sometimes stayed in their home. She said that
she sometimes slept over at MG's house.
told the Gingerbread House examiner that she was then 11 and
in the sixth grade. She described the several members of her
household and said that she knew she was at the Gingerbread
House “because of Dolla and what he did to my
cousin.” The examiner asked her if Dolla ever touched
her, and she said, “Yeah, sometimes.” The
examiner asked MyT to describe what had happened. MyT said
that when she stayed with her cousin (MG) Petitioner
“will come up over there and, like, touching on
us.” When asked where he had touched MyT, she said,
“Like, right here (uses her right hand to touch her
breast area) and down here (uses her right hand to point
between her legs).” She said he had done that two or
three times on top of her clothes. When asked if he ever
touched her under her clothes, she shook her head no. MyT
talked about getting ready for school one day when Petitioner
“tried to feel on me.”
also asked to describe what she had seen Petitioner do to MG.
She said that she had seen Petitioner touch MG on top of her
clothes but not underneath them. She said that Petitioner
would “just, like, touch on her, ” and MG would
ask him to move, or she would move around the room.
examiner showed MyT drawings of bodies and asked her to
circle the parts where Petitioner had touched her. The child
did so as she said, “Right here and here.” The
examiner asked MyT what she called those parts of her body,
and she answered, “Breasts and private.”
testified at trial that Petitioner never touched her when
they were at her house. She said Petitioner did not threaten
her. He did give her money on the same day he touched her,
but she did not think it was for that reason. Tr. 312-23.
who was 15 at the time of trial, testified live and confirmed
the truth of the statements in her recorded interview. MoT
told the Gingerbread House examiner that she was then 14 and
in the seventh grade. She is MyT's sister and lives with
several other family members. She said that she was at the
interview because Petitioner “be touching me and
said that when Petitioner would spend the night, “He be
touching me right here and stuff and I be telling him to
stop.” As she said that, she used her right hand to
circle and point to her breasts. She said she had clothes on
during such touching, which happened more than one time. She
also said that she had seen him touching MyT (on top of her
clothes) and touching her cousin. Describing the touching of
MyT, she said, “That he be touching her (indicating)
like -- that he be touching her (indicating) like right
--.” As she said that, she used her right hand to twice
point to her breasts.
testified that she told two older brothers about Petitioner
touching her, but she was not sure when she told them.
Petitioner did not threaten her or give her anything when he
touched her, and he did not tell her not to tell anyone. She
said that she and MyT did talk to each other about Petitioner
touching them. Tr. 324-33.