United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lafayette Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
B. WHITEHURST UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
petitioner Francisco Vasquez (“Vasquez”), an
inmate in the custody of Louisiana's Department of
Corrections, filed the instant petition for writ of habeas
corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §2254 on January 11, 2018.
Petitioner attacks his 2016 conviction for molestation of a
juvenile, in violation of La. R.S. 14:81.2, and the
subsequent twenty year sentence imposed thereon by the 15th
Judicial District Court, Lafayette Parish. This matter has
been referred to the undersigned for review, report, and
recommendation in accordance with the provisions of 28 U.S.C.
§636 and the standing orders of the Court.
of the Case
facts, as set forth by the Louisiana Third Circuit Court of
Appeal, State v. Vasquez-Ramirez, 2016-325 (La.App.
3 Cir. 12/28/16) 210 So.3d 521');">210 So.3d 521, 523-26, are as follows:
Hargrave, a teacher at Ridge Elementary School in Duson,
Louisiana, noticed that the victim, Y.M.R., and her sister
were absent from school for three weeks before Easter 2014.
When Mrs. Hargrave learned the girls were at their aunt's
house in Pennsylvania, she contacted the aunt, the girls'
mother (who had been deported to Guatemala), and a lawyer
about obtaining guardianship of the girls. When the
girls' mother signed the paperwork, Mrs. Hargrave and her
husband went to Pennsylvania to get the girls. The girls
returned to Louisiana the last week of May 2014. Sometime
after the girls returned, Mrs. Hargrave noticed a yellow
fluid on the victim's underwear and noticed the victim
was “itching all the time.” The victim's
sister told Mrs. Hargrave that the victim was sexually
molested by a man at their old house.
Mrs. Hargrave asked the victim, the victim said she was raped
by a man named “Francisco.” Mrs. Hargrave called
the girls' mother in Guatemala and learned that
Francisco's full name was Francisco Vasquez-Ramirez.
According to Mrs. Hargrave, the victim said Francisco touched
her vagina and “butt” with his fingers and penis.
The victim told Mrs. Hargrave the touching started when she
was in the second grade, which would have been in 2013. Mrs.
Hargrave called the police.
George Crowder with the Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office
testified that the victim told him Francisco touched her
vagina every day when she and her sister came home from
school. Detective Crowder witnessed the victim's Hearts
of Hope interview, at which time the victim gave the same or
similar statements to the interviewer.
victim's interview took place at Hearts of Hope on August
27, 2014. The victim was eight years old at the time of the
interview. The victim stated that before her present living
arrangement, she lived with a lot of adult men in one house,
and every day when she returned from school, one of the men
touched her bottom. The victim said the man's name was
Francisco, and he would touch her with his “pee
pee” underneath her clothes and inside her bottom.
According to the victim, it happened more than one time-every
day when she came home from school. The victim's sister
would also be in the room. When asked if Francisco touched
her with any other part of his body, the victim said,
“No.” Later in the interview, the victim said
Francisco used his hand to touch her in her “front
bottom” and “back bottom.” When asked if
Francisco did anything else to make her feel uncomfortable,
the victim said he kissed her on her mouth twice. At trial,
the victim identified the Defendant as the Francisco that had
done the things she described in her Hearts of Hope
interview, when asked if anyone else tried to do something to
her, the victim said the brother of her mom's boyfriend
did the same thing to her as Francisco. The victim said it
was easier to call this other person “F.” When
asked if “F” did the exact same thing to her as
Francisco or something different, the victim said something
different. The victim also said that “F” did
these things to her at the same house where Francisco touched
her. When asked what part of “F's” body
touched her, the victim said the same as Francisco-inside her
bottom and her front bottom. Again, only her sister saw this
happen. According to the victim, her mom was in Guatemala
when this happened. The victim said that “F” was
on television and was suspected of doing the same thing to
March 30, 2015, an interpreter was appointed for the
Defendant and jury selection began. On cross-examination at
trial, the victim explained that before she moved to Duson,
Louisiana, she lived in North Carolina with her biological
mom (Aldalena) and her biological dad (Tierfalo). According
to the victim, her mom left her biological father, but she
did not know why. When the victim moved to Duson in 2012,
Orbelio (her mom's boyfriend) and Jaime (a male), lived
in the house with her. The victim did not remember if the
Defendant lived in the house at that time. Between 2012 and
2014, Felencio (the brother of her mom's boyfriend) lived
in the house. When specifically asked if the Defendant was
living in the house at any point, the victim said he was
already living in the house when she arrived in 2012.
Although the victim did not know the Defendant's name at
that time, she later learned his name was Francisco
Vasquez-Ramirez. The victim testified that her mom's
boyfriend (Orbelio Ramirez) was the Defendant's nephew.
According to the victim, the brother of her mom's
boyfriend would normally open the door for them after school.
When the boyfriend of the victim's mom would return from
work, “Mr. Ramirez” would be with him.
cross-examination, it was determined that the victim actually
made two trips to Pennsylvania-one with her biological mom
and one after her biological mom returned to Guatemala.
defense counsel's extensive cross-examination of the
victim regarding her trips to Pennsylvania, the State
objected to defense counsel's “endless fishing
expedition on a trip to Pennsylvania and coming back.”
The trial court denied the objection, finding the victim was
on cross and defense counsel was not badgering the witness.
Defense counsel resumed questioning the victim regarding her
trips to Pennsylvania and then began questioning the victim
as to the details of her life at home after her mom went back
to Guatemala. During this line of questioning, the State
asked to approach the bench and asserted an objection:
“I want to object. We're going over a million
details about what time she comes home from school, who picks
her up - - ” The trial court denied the objection,
stating the following:
Listen, the jury is as uncomfortable as you are. That's
[defense counsel]'s deal. Okay? I know what you're
saying. And I can see the face of the jury. They don't
like it, either. But that's what he's doing, so
he's doing it. Okay?
counsel resumed questioning the victim about the details of
her home life and then launched into the following colloquy:
Q. Okay. All right. Now, let's get to the hard questions,
at this point. All right? Now, you've made - - You
remember the little video you did over at Hearts of Hope?
A. (No response).
Q. The little video you did with the young lady questioning
you about some things that Mr. Ramirez allegedly done to you?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. All right. Now, what I want to ask you is this: When did
this touching thing first start?
A. When I was about seven years old.
Q. Seven years old?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. That would have been in 2013?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Okay. Now, I know this is a hard question, but do you
remember the time of the year it started? Was it in - - like,
around Easter or Christmas? Thanksgiving?
A. No, sir.
Q. When did it first ...