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State v. Davis

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Second Circuit

February 27, 2019

STATE OF LOUISIANA Appellee
v.
JEFFERSON DAVIS, JR. Appellant

          Appealed from the First Judicial District Court for the Parish of Caddo, Louisiana Trial Court No. 343, 641 Honorable Katherine Dorroh, Judge.

          LOUISIANA APPELLANT PROJECT By: Douglas Lee Harville, Counsel for Appellant.

          JAMES E. STEWART, SR. District Attorney RON STAMPS CHARLES K. PARR REBECCA EDWARDS Assistant District Attorneys, Counsel for Appellee.

          Before MOORE, COX, and McCALLUM, JJ.

          MOORE, J.

         A jury convicted Jefferson Davis, Jr., as charged for first degree rape, sexual battery of a victim under the age of 13, and indecent behavior with juveniles of a victim under the age of 13. The court imposed the mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence on Davis for the first degree rape conviction. For the sexual battery of a victim under the age of 13, the court sentenced Davis to 30 years' imprisonment at hard labor, 25 years of which are required to be served without the benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence. For his conviction for indecent behavior with juveniles of a victim under the age of 13, the court sentenced Davis to 20 years' imprisonment at hard labor, 2 years to be served without the benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence. The court ordered the three sentences to be served consecutively. No motion to reconsider sentence was filed.

         Davis filed this appeal alleging that the sentences imposed are unconstitutionally harsh. For the following reasons, we affirm the convictions and sentences as imposed by the trial court. We also order that the trial court minutes be amended to reflect the sentencing as imposed in the record.

         FACTS

         The victim in all three counts was Davis's nine-year-old grandniece, K.M. Davis was 63 years old when he committed the offenses in the spring of 2016. The molestations occurred in Davis's bedroom while he was living with his sister, K.M.'s grandmother, whose backyard abutted the backyard of K.M.'s mother's house. The child sometimes stayed at her grandmother's house when her mother, Quinnette Morris, was at work. The crimes came to light when K.M. described the sexual incidents to her older sister, S.M., who, in turn, reported them to her mother. Quinnette immediately contacted the police.

         After a police investigation in which Davis admitted to sexual acts with K.M., the evidence was presented to the grand jury of Caddo Parish, which returned an indictment charging Davis with three counts: Count 1: first degree rape (La. R.S. 14:42(A)(4)); Count 2: sexual battery of a victim under the age of 13 (La. R.S. 14:43.1(A)(1) & (2)); and, Count 3: indecent behavior with juveniles under the age of 13(La. R.S. 14:81(A)(1) & (2)). The indictment charged that all of the offenses occurred between March 15 and July 2016.

         Trial by jury commenced on April 10, 2018. K.M.'s older sister, S.M., testified that on August 11, 2016 (when K.M. was nine years old), K.M. told her that "Uncle Jeff," i.e., the defendant, had licked her breasts and rubbed his "private part" against her "private part." K.M. also told S.M. that the defendant inserted his finger in her "private part," licked her "private part," and made her lick his private part. Upset by this revelation, S.M. reported it to her mother.

         Quinnette Morris testified that S.M. told her about the sexual acts the defendant had performed on K.M. She questioned K.M. and confirmed what S.M. had reported to her. She said K.M. told her that sexual acts began after K.M.'s father died on February 25, 2015. According to Quinnette, the sexual abuse occurred 13-15 times in the defendant's room.

         At trial, a videotaped Gingerbread House interview of K.M. was introduced into evidence (Exhibit S-1) and played for the jury. During the interview, K.M. described the sexual acts committed on her by her grand uncle.[1] She described to the interviewer, Alex Person, how the defendant licked her private parts, sucked her breasts and made her suck his private parts and rubbed his private parts against her. K.M. also described how the defendant tried to put his private part inside her, but that she told him to stop because it hurt, and she knew it was wrong. The child said that the defendant told her that she "had to take it." K.M. said that the defendant did not fully insert his penis inside of her, but rubbed his private part against her body and "white stuff" came out. She also explained that the defendant would lick his pinky finger and make K.M. "pinky promise" that she would not tell anyone about the sexual acts.

         Ms. Person testified regarding the Gingerbread House interview of K.M. The interview was held on August 15, 2016. Ms. Person showed K.M. anatomical drawings of a young girl and a grown man, so that K.M. could circle parts of the body that she identified during the interview. (Exhibit S-1). Exhibit S-2 consists of the drawings that K.M. circled the vagina, breasts, and buttocks of the naked girl to show where she had been violated, and she circled the male penis on the drawing of the man and described the sexual acts during the interview.

         At trial, K.M. confirmed that she gave the interview at the Gingerbread House, and that everything she said was true. She also testified that Uncle Jeff, the defendant, was the person who committed the sexual acts.

         Detective De'Andre Belle, a sex crimes investigator in the Shreveport Police Department, testified that he was assigned the case on August 12, 2016. He contacted K.M.'s mother and set up the Gingerbread House interview for K.M. and her mother on August 15, 2016. He supervised K.M.'s interview and heard the statements that K.M. made during the interview. He said that her statements were consistent with the factual statements K.M. reported that prompted the investigation, namely that her "great uncle" made her perform oral sex on him, performed oral sex on her, touched her vagina and tried to penetrate her vagina with his penis, which he said that she said, "it hurt."

         Detective Belle testified that Davis voluntarily came to his office to talk about the incident and signed a Miranda rights form which was admitted in evidence as Exhibit S-4. Belle recorded the interview with Davis, which was authenticated and admitted into evidence at trial as S-5. This recording was played before the jury, after which, Det. Belle testified that the recording corroborated what K.M. had told him. In this taped interview, the defendant admitted that he licked K.M.'s vagina, sucked her breasts, tried to ...


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