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State v. Golden

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

July 29, 2019


          Assigned on Briefs June 25, 2019 at Knoxville

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for Madison County No. 18-87 Roy B. Morgan, Jr., Judge.

         A Madison County jury convicted the defendant, Kelvin Dewayne Golden, of aggravated sexual battery, and the trial court imposed a sentence of ten years' confinement. On appeal, the defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence to support his conviction and argues the sentence imposed by the trial court was excessive. After reviewing the record and considering the applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit Court Affirmed

          George Morton Googe, District Public Defender; Jeremy B. Epperson, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, Kelvin DeWayne Golden.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Clark B. Thornton, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Jody Pickens, District Attorney General; and Lee R. Sparks, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          J. Ross Dyer, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Norma McGee Ogle and Robert H. Montgomery, Jr., JJ., joined.


          J. ROSS DYER, JUDGE.

         Facts and Procedural History

         On August 24, 2016, eleven-year-old L.P.[1] visited the apartment of his cousin, L.B, who was also eleven at the time. Also present in the apartment that day were L.B.'s mother and the defendant, who was dating L.B.'s mother at the time. L.B watched as L.P. and the defendant played video games in the living room, while L.B.'s mother slept in her bedroom. At some point during the afternoon, L.B. left the living room to "get something," and the defendant "grabbed [L.P.'s] arm." L.P. thought the defendant "was playing," but the defendant "bent [him] over and started pulling down [his] pants." The defendant then "stuck his thumb in [L.P.'s] butt." L.P. told the defendant to stop and tried to get away. L.B. then came back into the living room, saw the defendant "trying to stick his hand down into [L.P.'s] pants," and pushed the defendant off of L.P.

         Afterward, L.P. and L.B. left the apartment and told L.P.'s uncle what had happened. Later that night, L.P. also told his mother, who took him to the Jackson Police Department. Sergeant Jay Stanfill of the Jackson Police Department instructed L.P. and his mother to meet him at Jackson-Madison County General Hospital. However, a medical exam of L.P. was not performed. The Department of Children's Services was also contacted, and Doretha Brice, a Child Protective Services investigator, scheduled a forensic interview of L.P. with Monica Goodman, a forensic interviewer with the Exchange Club Carl Perkins Center.

         At trial, the State called L.P., L.B., Sergeant Jay Stanfill, Doretha Brice, and Monica Goodman as witnesses, and all rendered testimony consistent with the foregoing. On cross-examination, L.P. acknowledged he had previously testified that no one took his clothes off during the incident. He also acknowledged the transcript of the previous hearing indicated his brothers were at the apartment with him that day. However, L.P. did not recall "saying [his] [brothers'] names" during his previous testimony. L.B. acknowledged on cross-examination that there were some inconsistencies between her testimony at trial and her statement to police. Although she testified the defendant left the apartment after the assault, her statement to police indicated the defendant was there several hours later.

         The defendant called Tico Golden and L.B.'s mother as witnesses. Mr. Golden testified L.P. told him on several occasions that the accusation against the defendant was not true. Although he admitted he never told the defendant about these conversations with L.P., Mr. Golden testified he told Sergeant Stanfill that L.P. had recanted his story. In response to Mr. Golden's testimony, the State called Sergeant Stanfill as a rebuttal witness. Sergeant Stanfill testified he had "never had any contact" with Mr. Golden and was not aware of anyone under his supervision speaking with Mr. Golden about the investigation. He also testified he was not aware of either L.P. or L.B. ever recanting their story.

         L.B.'s mother testified L.P. was in her apartment with his brothers on the day in question. As the boys played video games with the defendant, L.B.'s mother sat at the kitchen table and watched them. At some point, she went into her bedroom to speak on the telephone. However, L.B.'s mother did not hear anyone "yelling or screaming" during this time, so she did not believe the defendant sexually assaulted L.P. On cross-examination, L.B.'s mother ...

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