Clifton Taylor v. State of Arkansas

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FEBRUARY 23, 2005







Olly Neal, Judge

A Pulaski County jury convicted appellant, Clifton Taylor, of rape. The court sentenced appellant to twenty-five years' imprisonment. On appeal, appellant only challenges the sufficiency of the evidence used to convict him. Finding no error, we affirm.

Kimberly Dill, the victim's mother, testified that she met appellant and his wife, Sheila Taylor, through the Agape School of World Evangelism. Dill testified that Sheila informed her of appellant's ministry to young boys whose fathers were not involved in their lives. Dill testified that she spoke with appellant about his work and agreed to allow appellant to spend time with her son.

C. D. testified that he was born March 14, 1988, and was fifteen years old. C.D. met appellant through his mother and the church when he was about eight or nine years old. C.D. testified that appellant took him to the movies, shopping at the mall, and also to the arcade. He stated that he would stay overnight at the Taylor home and that Sheila was not always there because she worked as a nurse. He would occasionally sleep on the couch, but at other times, he would sleep in the bed with appellant and sometimes with both appellant and his wife.

C.D. stated that appellant would take him to and from school. C.D. also testified that, in the mornings, appellant would ask if he could dress C.D., and C.D. would allow him to do that. Although nothing happened in the beginning, C.D. stated that, on one occasion, as appellant dressed him, appellant "stopped about halfway and then he put my penis in his mouth. He didn't really say anything to me before he did that. He told me that he was just trying to make me [feel] better after he did that." C.D. stated that appellant and his family were living in Walton Heights when this incident happened. Thereafter, C.D. testified that the family moved to Maumelle.

C.D. acknowledged that several incidents happened in the Maumelle home. He testified that, on two occasions when he and appellant were watching television, appellant asked C.D. if he could perform oral sex on him; C.D. told appellant no in both instances; however, he eventually allowed appellant to perform oral sex on him. C.D. testified further that the first incident happened in the living room and that the second incident occurred in appellant's bedroom. Additionally, C.D. testified that, in both instances, appellant would pull C.D.'s boxers down about half way and put C.D.'s penis in his mouth. The final incident occurred after C.D. found a video under appellant's son's bed. C.D. asked appellant if they could watch the tape, which turned out to be pornographic. Thereafter, appellant again asked if he could perform oral sex on C.D., and C.D. reluctantly allowed appellant to do so. According to C.D., this incident occurred in the son's bedroom, and when he told appellant to stop after about thirty seconds, appellant stopped.

Following an incident in November 1999 at C.D.'s school, Agape Academy, Kimberly Dill ceased all communications between appellant and her son. Subsequently, C.D. told his mother what happened to him, and she notified the police. Appellant was thereafter charged and convicted of rape. It is from appellant's conviction for rape that this appeal arises. On appeal, appellant contends that the trial court erred in denying his directed-verdict motions.

A motion for a directed verdict is a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence. Wilson v. State, __ Ark. App. ___, ___ S.W.3d ___ (Oct. 27, 2004). In reviewing a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence, we will not second-guess credibility determinations made by the fact-finder. Id. Instead, we view the evidence in the light most favorable to the State and consider only the evidence that supports the verdict. Morgan v. State, ___ Ark. ___, ___ S.W.3d ___ (Oct. 14, 2004). We affirm the conviction if there is substantial evidence to support it. Id. Substantial evidence is evidence of sufficient force and character to compel a conclusion one way or the other with reasonable certainty, and which permits the trier of fact to reach a conclusion without having to resort to speculation or conjecture. McDuffy v. State, __ Ark. ___, ___ S.W.3d ___ (Oct. 14, 2004).

A person commits the offense of rape if he or she engages in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual activity with a person who is less than fourteen years of age. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-14-103 (a)(1)(C)(i) (Supp. 2003). Deviate sexual behavior means any act of sexual gratification involving the penetration, however slight, of the anus or mouth of one person by the penis of another person. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-14-101(1)(A) (Supp. 2003).

Appellant argues not only that C.D.'s testimony alone was insufficient to convict him but also that he was limited in his defense because no specific dates or time frames were provided. We disagree. With regard to a rape conviction, the testimony of a rape victim, standing by itself, constitutes sufficient evidence to support a conviction. See McDuffy v. State, supra ; Pinder v. State, ___ Ark. ___, ___ S.W.3d ___ (May 6, 2004). Furthermore, the time a crime is alleged to have occurred is not of critical significance, unless the date is material to the offense. Martin v. State, 354 Ark. 289, 119 S.W.3d 504 (2003). That is particularly true with sexual crimes against children. Id. Any discrepancies in the evidence concerning the date of the offense are for the jury to resolve. Id. In cases of rape, the evidence is sufficient if the victim gave a full and detailed accounting of the defendant's actions. Id.

Here, C.D.'s testimony alone is sufficient evidence to support appellant's conviction. Although C.D. did not provide specific dates of these incidents, he nevertheless gave a full and detailed accounting of appellant's actions during each incident, including in which residence each rape occurred. Accordingly, as substantial evidence supports appellant's conviction, we affirm.


Hart and Glover, JJ., agree.