Mickey Charles Robinett v. The State of Texas--Appeal from 355th District Court of Hood County (majority)Annotate this Case
IN THE COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE SEVENTH DISTRICT OF TEXAS
OCTOBER 12, 2012
MICKEY CHARLES ROBINETT, APPELLANT
THE STATE OF TEXAS, APPELLEE
FROM THE 355TH DISTRICT COURT OF HOOD COUNTY;
NO. CR11394; HONORABLE RALPH H. WALTON, JR., JUDGE
Before QUINN, C.J., and CAMPBELL and HANCOCK, JJ.
Appellant Mickey Charles Robinett appeals from his convictions by jury for
aggravated sexual assault, sexual performance by a child, and indecent exposure and
the resulting concurrent sentences. He presents two points of error. We will affirm.
Factual and Procedural Background
Appellant does not challenge the sufficiency of the evidence, so we discuss only
the facts relevant to resolution of his two points of error. Those points involve the trial
court’s rulings on evidentiary matters.
The case involved allegations of acts committed against four girls. Two of the
girls, H.H. and B.H., are sisters and were step-granddaughters of appellant. M.J. is
their cousin; M.L. is their friend.
Evidence showed that M.L. first told her mother about events that occurred on a
day on which she and the other three girls were visiting at appellant’s home. M.L. told
her mother that appellant had come out of the shower naked in their presence, and that
she “saw his thing.” She also told her mother that later the same day appellant took the
girls “skinny dipping.” M.L.’s mother contacted the mothers of the other girls.
The next day, M.J.’s parents and the mother of H.H. and B.H. met with their three
girls, who had been with appellant on many occasions. After that conversation, police
were called, and a deputy sheriff responded. The deputy also talked with the three girls.
The next day, all four girls were taken to the Children’s Advocacy Center, where
they were interviewed by Sharon Hardin.
Appellant was indicted in thirteen counts, alleging one or more acts against each
of the four girls, occurring on or about dates ranging from March 2004 through May
2009. Six counts were abandoned by the State before trial and seven were submitted
to the jury.
Prior to trial, the State notified the defense of its intention to offer Hardin’s
testimony as subject to the exception to the hearsay rule under article 38.072 of the
Code of Criminal Procedure. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. art. 38.072 (West 2009).
Appellant objected, and the court held a hearing, at which Hardin, M.J.’s mother, and
the mother of B.H. and H.H. testified.
At the conclusion of the hearing, the trial court ruled “that the outcry witness as it
relates to the alleged victims, that is [B.H., H.H. and M.J.], the outcry witness there who
will testify concerning those allegations would be Sharon Hardin.”
Of the seven counts submitted to the jury, two alleged aggravated sexual
assaults of H.H. and B.H., based on contact between the girls’ mouths and appellant’s
Two counts alleged appellant induced H.H. and M.J. to engage in sexual
conduct, bestiality, by causing a dog to lick the girls’ sexual organs. 2
alleged appellant induced H.H. and B.H. to engage in sexual conduct, masturbation.
The final count alleged appellant committed indecency with a child by exposing his
genitals to M.L.3
In her trial testimony, Hardin related that B.H. told her of her oral contact with
appellant’s penis, and told her that appellant told B.H. to pull down her pants and sit on
a circular massager. Hardin gave similar testimony of her interview with H.H., relating
for the jury that the child told her of appellant’s causing her to perform oral sex. Hardin
also said H.H. told her appellant caused H.H. to sit on the massager with her pants
down, and on the same occasion allowed a dog to lick her sexual organ.
testified similarly of her interview with M.J., saying the child told her appellant “made
Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 22.021 (West 2012).
Tex. Penal Code Ann. §§ 43.25; 43.26 (West 2012).
Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 21.11 (West 2012).
them pull down their pants and let the dog lick their private.” Hardin said M.J. told her
appellant was “laughing” as the dog licked her.
Appellant’s theory at trial was the girls fabricated the allegations against him.
Three witnesses, a neighbor, appellant’s son, and appellant’s grandson, testified they
never witnessed any of the type of conduct described by the girls.
testified, denying each of the allegations.
The jury found appellant guilty of all seven submitted counts and assessed
punishment 60 years of incarceration for each of the two aggravated sexual assault of a
child convictions, 20 years for each of the four sexual performance by a child
convictions and 10 years for the indecency with a child conviction. The sentences are
concurrent. This appeal followed.
Appellant’s first issue challenges the trial court’s ruling that the forensic
interviewer Hardin was the proper outcry witness under article 38.072 as to the offenses
against M.J., H.H. and B.H. The trial court overruled appellant’s hearsay objection to
We review a trial court's decision to admit an outcry statement for abuse of
discretion. Garcia v. State, 792 S.W.2d 88, 92 (Tex.Crim.App. 1990); see Martinez v.
State, 178 S.W.3d 806, 810 (Tex.Crim.App. 2005) (referring to article 38.072 as “a rule
of admissibility of hearsay evidence” and describing its purpose). We will uphold the trial
court's ruling if it is within the zone of reasonable disagreement. Weatherred v. State, 15
S.W.3d 540, 542 (Tex.Crim.App. 2000); Chapman v. State, 150 S.W.3d 809, 813
(Tex.App.--Houston [14th Dist.] 2004, pet. ref'd).
Article 38.072 establishes an exception to the hearsay rule, applicable in
proceedings for prosecution of certain listed offenses, for statements made by a child or
disabled victim “to the first person, 18 years of age or older, other than the defendant, to
whom the [victim] . . . made a statement about the offense.” Tex. Code Crim. Proc.
Ann. art. 38.072 (West 2009). To be admissible under article 38.072, outcry testimony
must be elicited from the first adult to whom the outcry is made. Chapman, 150 S.W.3d
at 812. Article 38.072 requires "that the outcry witness . . . be the first person, 18 years
old or older, to whom the child makes a statement that in some discernible manner
describes the alleged offense" and provides more than "a general allusion that
something in the area of child abuse was going on." Garcia, 792 S.W.2d at 91; Brown v.
State, 189 S.W.3d 382, 386 (Tex.App.—Texarkana 2006, pet. ref’d).4
conditions for admissibility of such a statement is the requirement that the party
We agree with the suggestion in Brown that analysis of the admissibility of
outcry testimony should not focus on whether the proposed witness is the adult to whom
the complainant first told “how, when and where” he was assaulted. See Brown, 189
S.W.3d at 386 (quoting Hanson v. State, 180 S.W.3d 726, 730 (Tex.App.—Waco 2005,
no pet.)). Interestingly, the “how, when, where” listing makes no mention of the “who.”
In Garcia, the Court of Criminal Appeals, giving interpretation to the phrase “statement
about the offense” in article 38.072, declined to read the phrase as meaning “any
statement that arguably relates to what later evolves into an allegation of child abuse
against a particular person . . . .” 792 S.W.2d at 91 (emphasis ours). The testimony
quoted in the Garcia opinion with regard to statements made by the complainant to her
teacher, who the defendant contended was the proper outcry witness, did not identify
the alleged perpetrator of the abuse. Id. at 89-90.
intending to offer it notify the adverse party of the name of the witness through whom
the party intends to offer the statement. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. art. 38.072, §
2(b)(1)(B) (West 2009).
Admissible outcry witness testimony is not person-specific, but event-specific.
Lopez v. State, 343 S.W.3d 137, 140 (Tex.Crim.App. 2011); West v. State, 121 S.W.3d
95, 104 (Tex.App.—Fort Worth 2003, pet. ref’d); Broderick v. State, 35 S.W.3d 67, 73
(Tex.App.--Texarkana 2000, pet. ref'd).
The proper outcry witness is not to be
determined by comparing the statements the child gave to different individuals and then
deciding which person received the most detailed statement about the offense. Brown,
189 S.W.3d at 386; see Reed v. State, 974 S.W.2d 838, 841 (Tex.App.--San Antonio
1998, pet. ref'd) (rejecting contention CPS worker should have been designated outcry
witness because victims’ statements to her were “more detailed”). However, because
designation of the proper outcry witness is event-specific, when a child is victim to more
than one instance of sexual assault, it is possible to have more than one proper outcry
witness, so long as the outcries concerned different events and not simply repetition of
the same event told to different individuals. Brown, 189 S.W.3d at 387; see Lopez, 343
S.W.3d at 140 (“[t]here may be only one outcry witness per event”).
Here, appellant asserts H.H., B.H. and M.J. first told their mothers of appellant’s
sexual acts against them.5 He also argues those girls’ conversation with the deputy
sheriff precludes Hardin’s testimony as the outcry witness. We disagree.
Hardin did not testify as the outcry witness as to the indecency with a child
count involving M.L.
At the pretrial hearing, the mother of H.H. and B.H. testified her girls told her
“they were made to touch [appellant’s] private, and he was touching their private, and
just doing bad things to the girls.” These girls’ statements to their mother that appellant
was touching their privates, and made them touch his, do not refer to the oral-penile
contact for which he was convicted. Because the analysis of outcry testimony under
article 38.072 is event-specific, that the girls’ mother might have been the proper outcry
witness with respect to offenses involving the touching of genitals, does not mean she is
the outcry witness for all offenses involving appellant and her daughters. She testified
her daughters did not describe to her the events of oral-penile contact with appellant,
and based on the mother’s testimony, the trial court was correct to find the forensic
interviewer was the first adult other than the defendant to whom each of the sisters
“made a statement about the offense.” Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. art. 38.072, § 2(a)(3)
(West 2009); see Garcia, 792 S.W.2d at 91 (finding, based on teacher’s testimony, that
trial court did not abuse discretion by determining child protective specialist, not teacher,
was proper outcry witness); Brown, 189 S.W.3d at 387 (possible to have more than one
outcry witness, so long as testimony is to different events).
According to the testimony of M.J.’s mother, M.J. told her appellant “touched
[her] tee-tee.” Neither this statement, nor any of the girls’ other statements to their
mothers, made outcry of the events involving the licking dog or the circular massager.
Although one of the mothers gave inconsistent testimony at the pretrial hearing
regarding the information the girls gave the deputy sheriff, the trial court could have
believed, based on the testimony, that the girls did not tell the deputy sheriff anything
more than what they related to their mothers. See Garcia, 792 S.W.2d at 92 (trial court
has broad discretion in making decisions as to outcry witnesses).
The trial court reasonably could have concluded the statements to the girls’
mothers and the deputy sheriff described incidents distinct from those for which
appellant was being tried. Brown, 189 S.W.3d at 386-87; Broderick, 35 S.W.3d at 73.
The trial court did not abuse its discretion by determining Hardin was the first adult to
whom the girls made a statement about the offenses being tried. 6
appellant’s first point of error.
Restriction of Cross-Examination
During Hardin’s trial testimony, defense counsel sought to show Hardin an
offense report prepared by the sheriff’s investigator to refresh her memory.7 The trial
court denied his request and, according to appellant, violated his constitutional rights by
Even were we mistaken in our conclusion the trial court did not err by admitting
Hardin’s testimony, we could not find any error in its admission to be harmful. H.H.,
B.H. and M.J., who at trial ranged in age from ten to twelve years old, testified in some
detail to appellant’s offenses against them. In view of the victims’ testimony, we are
reasonably assured that any error in admitting Hardin’s testimony did not influence the
jury’s verdict or had but a slight effect. See Tex. R. App. P. 44.2(b) (standard for harm
from non-constitutional error); West, 121 S.W.3d at 105 (finding admission of hearsay
testimony harmless in similar circumstance); Mason v. State, No. 07-10-00246-CR,
2011 Tex.App. Lexis 9107 (Tex.App.—Amarillo Nov. 15, 2011, pet. ref’d) (mem. op., not
designated for publication) (similar analysis).
Appellant states he sought to introduce the report to impeach Hardin, showing
H.H. had been the victim of a sexual assault by another person. However, appellant
does not further develop this argument, and we do not address it.
limiting his cross-examination of Hardin. We agree with the State this issue was not
preserved for appellate review.
A complaint on appeal must comport with the complaint made in the trial court or
the error is waived.
Tex. R. App. P. 33.1; Rezac v. State, 782 S.W.2d 869, 870
Here, appellant complains of constitutional violations and
limitations on his cross-examination at trial. However, the record shows those were not
the bases for his objections at trial. See, e.g., Reyna v. State, 168 S.W.3d 173, 179
(Tex.Crim.App. 2005) (noting the purpose of requiring an objection is to give the trial
court or opposing party the opportunity to correct the error and when a defendant’s
objection encompasses complaints under both the rules of evidence and the
Confrontation Clause, the objection is not sufficiently specific to preserve error). Also,
appellant provides no argument or authority with respect to his assertion his
constitutional rights were violated. See, e.g., Russeau v. State, 171 S.W.3d 871, 881
(Tex.Crim.App. 2005) (overruling points of error as inadequately briefed where appellant
provided no argument or authority with respect to the protection provided by the Texas
Constitution). For both those reasons, appellant’s second point of error presents nothing
for our review, and is overruled.
Having resolved both of appellant’s points of error against him, we affirm the
judgment of the trial court.
James T. Campbell