Appeal from the Nineteenth Judicial District Court In and for
the Parish of East Baton Rouge State of Louisiana Docket No.
06-14-1012 Honorable Richard Anderson, Judge Presiding
C. Moore, III District Attorney Dylan C. Alge Assistant
District Attorney Baton Rouge, Louisiana Counsel for Appellee
State of Louisiana
T. Vo Clark Mandeville, Louisiana Counsel for Defendant/
Appellant Daryl Williams
Williams Angola, Louisiana In Proper Person
BEFORE: WHIPPLE, C.J., McCLENDON, AND HIGGINBOTHAM, JJ.
Daryl Williams, was charged by grand jury indictment with
aggravated rape (victim under the age of thirteen years), a
violation of LSA-R.S. 14:42 (redesignated as first degree
rape) (count 1); molestation of a juvenile (victim under the
age of thirteen years), a violation of LSA-R.S.
14:81.2D(1) (count 2); and molestation of a juvenile
(victim thirteen years of age or older), a violation of
LSA-R.S. 14:81.2B(1) (count 3). Defendant entered a plea of
not guilty to the charges and, following a jury trial, was
found guilty as charged on all counts. For the aggravated
rape conviction, defendant was sentenced to life imprisonment
at hard labor without benefit of parole, probation, or
suspension of sentence; for the molestation of a juvenile
(victim under the age of thirteen years) conviction, he was
sentenced to twenty-five years imprisonment at hard labor
without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of
sentence; and for the molestation of a juvenile (victim
thirteen years of age or older) conviction, he was sentenced
to five years imprisonment at hard labor. Defendant now
appeals, designating one counseled assignment of error and
two pro se assignments of error. We affirm the convictions
and his wife lived alone in a subdivision in Baton Rouge.
Defendant had several grandchildren, including a
granddaughter, P.W. P.W. was close to her grandparents and
spent a lot of time at the home of defendant (her paternal
grandfather). She also often slept over at defendant's
home. According to P.W., she saw her grandparents at least
three times a week. P.W. testified that defendant began
molesting her at his home when she was eleven years old,
which was in 2011. According to P.W., defendant, at first,
just touched her breasts, buttocks, and vagina. Over time,
the touching progressed to defendant inserting his fingers in
P.W.'s vagina and performing oral sex on her. The sexual
abuse continued until P.W. was fourteen years old (in 2014),
at which time she told her mother what defendant had been
doing to her. P.W. indicated that some form of sexual abuse
occurred every time she went to defendant's home. P.W.
testified that defendant told her that if she told anyone, it
could really hurt their family and he (defendant) could get
in a lot of trouble.
did not testify at trial.
AND PRO SE ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR
sole counseled assignment of error and in his first pro se
assignment of error, defendant argues the trial court erred
in denying his motion to allow the jury to visit the alleged
to trial, defendant filed a written motion to allow the jury
to visit the alleged crime scene. In this motion, defendant
sought an order by the trial court to allow the empaneled
jury to leave the courtroom to physically view the scene of
the alleged offenses, that is, defendant's house. At the
hearing on this motion (over two years before trial), defense
counsel argued that these alleged offenses occurred in
"close proximity within a relatively small home."
According to defense counsel, the jury should be allowed to
visit the scene to determine who could hear what and whether
or not defendant's wife "would have heard any
screaming that may have occurred and that sort of thing
during the course of these events." The trial court
ruled that "at this time I'm going to grant this
trial, after the State rested its case-in-chef, the trial
court reversed its ruling and denied defendant's motion
to allow the jury to visit the crime scene. According to the
trial court, there had been no evidence of any screaming by
P.W. One of defendant's attorneys insisted that "the
question becomes" that if L.W. had screamed,
whether or not it would have been heard. The trial court
disagreed, explaining that the layout of the house could be
described through testimony. Further, the State had a diagram
of the house that the parties discussed and looked over at
the hearing. In any event, the trial court reiterated that
"last time," defense counsel had referred to
screaming and whether or not it could be heard, yet there was
no evidence of any screaming. Defense counsel replied:
"I understand, Your Honor. But had there been, then
there would have been a response. And that's the peculiar
nature of the structure and why it's relevant." The
trial court confirmed its denial of the motion.
counseled brief, defendant notes that P.W. had lied before,
and that she admitted herself at trial that she had a habit
of lying. Despite issues with P.W.'s credibility,
defendant suggests, the jury overlooked this and found him
guilty as charged. The trial court's reversal of its
pretrial ruling, according to defendant, was unexpected and
left him at "a disadvantage of not even having a sub-par
option available to present to the jury in terms of a logical
layout of the alleged crime scene in the form of photographs
or a scaled diagram." Defendant asserts that the trial
court's denial of his motion was an abuse of discretion
and a denial of the right to a fair trial, since a jury visit
to the alleged crime scene was relevant to the jury's
consideration of the credibility of P.W.'s allegations.
LSA-C.Cr.P. art. 762(2), sessions of court may be held at
places within the parish other than the courthouse at the
discretion of the court to "allow the jury or judge to
view the place where the crime or any material part thereof
is alleged to have occurred, or to view an object which is
admissible in evidence but which is difficult to produce in
court." It is well settled that the decision regarding
whether to grant or deny a motion to have a jury view the
scene of a crime is within the sound discretion of the trial
court, and such a ruling will not be disturbed on appeal
absent an abuse of that discretion. State v. Duvall,
97-2173 (La.App. 1 Cir. 12/28/99), 747 So.2d 793, 801,
writ denied, 00-1362 (La. 2/16/01), 785 So.2d 838.
See State v. Lavy, 13-1025 (La.App. 1 Cir. 3/11/14),
142 So.3d 1000, 1008-09, writ denied. 14-0644 (La.
10/31/14), 152 So.3d 150.
no reason to disturb the trial court's denial of
defendant's motion to allow the jury to visit the crime
scene. On the one incident described with any particularity,
P.W. testified that her first memory of sexual abuse was when
she was eleven years old in middle school and staying the
night at defendant's house. She was in the back bedroom,
where she slept. Defendant went into the bedroom, and P.W.
asked him to rub her back because she was sore from
gymnastics practice. Defendant began rubbing P.W.'s back,
but then slowly moved his hands lower down her back. He put
his hands inside her pants and began touching her buttocks.
He then moved his hands around to the front and began
touching her vagina. P.W. testified that she got scared and
ran out of the bedroom to the other side of the house toward
her grandmother's bedroom, where she got
"close" to the bedroom door. Defendant
followed her and stopped her before she went into her
grandmother's bedroom. Defendant apologized and said that
it was a mistake and would not happen again. P.W. believed
defendant and, as such, did not tell her grandmother or
anyone else about what defendant had done to her. P.W. was
asked on cross-examination if she was screaming or upset when
she ran toward the bedroom. She testified she was not
screaming, but was probably out of breath. P.W.'s
grandmother did not come out of her bedroom. She was asked on
cross-examination if she had any reason to believe that her
grandmother had heard what was going on. P.W. replied,
"I feel like if she heard something, that something was
wrong, that something was happening, her immediate response
would have been to check on me."
foregoing was the only incident described by P.W. as her
having gone toward her grandmother's bedroom after being
sexually abused by defendant. P.W. testified there were many
other incidents of sexual abuse in that same back bedroom
where she slept. Defendant's touching had progressed to
inserting his fingers into her vagina and performing oral sex
on her. On these other occasions, however, P.W. did not leave
the room. Defendant also at times perpetrated these acts on
P.W. in his own bedroom.
adds in his pro se brief that P.W.'s testimony suggested
that his home was very large. Defendant points out that P.W.
used phrases like "the very back of the house,"
"the very end of the hallway," "to the other
side of the house," and that she was "out of
breath." These descriptions, according to defendant,
suggested a large home, when in fact the home was very small,
or less than thirty-five feet from the bedroom of the alleged
incident to P.W.'s grandmother's bedroom. Thus,
according to defendant, there would have been no ...