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ROBERT MILFORD CRENSHAW v. STATE OF MISSISSIPPI

FEBRUARY 10, 1988

ROBERT MILFORD CRENSHAW
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI



BEFORE ROY NOBLE LEE, C.J., PRATHER AND ZUCCARO, JJ.

ZUCCARO, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

Robert Milford Crenshaw was found guilty of fondling by the Circuit Court of Harrison County, and sentenced to six (6) years imprisonment. From this adverse verdict and sentence, Crenshaw appeals, making four (4) assignments of error. Finding no error, we affirm.

FACTS

 On the night of April 13, 1985, Andrea Switzer and her husband dropped their five (5) children off at the home of their friend Judy McCauley in Gulfport so that Judy could babysit. In addition to the Switzers' children, the McCauley apartment that evening was occupied by McCauley, her four (4) children, and her friend Robert Crenshaw.

 The Switzers' oldest child was Heather Yeoman, eight (8) years old on the night in question. According to Heather, while the group was watching television Crenshaw asked her to sit on his lap. When she did, he kissed her on the lips. Subsequently, Crenshaw took her to a bedroom in the back of the house and closed the door. Once in the bedroom, appellant rubbed Heather on her hip, kissed her on the lips again, sat down on the bed, unzipped his pants, and forced Heather to" rub his thing "for" about five (5) minutes. "Crenshaw then returned Heather to the living room and warned her not to tell anyone what had happened or he would hurt her. McCauley confirmed that Crenshaw and Heather were absent for some period of time.

 Heather did not tell her mother about the above incident until May 26, 1985. Andrea Switzer reported the matter to the Gulfport Police Department on the same day. Following this action, Crenshaw was indicted for fondling pursuant to Miss. Code Ann. 97-5-23 (1972), which provides that:

 Touching, handling, etc., child for lustful purposes.

 Any person above the age of eighteen (18) years, who, for the purpose of gratifying his or her lust, or indulging his or her depraved licentious sexual

 desires, shall handle, touch or rub with hands or any part of his or her body or any member thereof, any child under the age of fourteen (14) years, with or without the child's consent, shall be guilty of a high crime and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined in a sum not less than One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) nor more than One Thousand Dollars (1,000.00), or be imprisoned in the State Penitentiary not less than one (1) year nor more than ten (10) years, or be punished by both such fine and imprisonment, at the discretion of the court.

 At trial, Crenshaw was found guilty of the crime of fondling and sentenced to six (6) years imprisonment. It is this adverse decision that Crenshaw appeals.

 I. DID PROSECUTORIAL MISCONDUCT PREJUDICE THE TRIAL TO THE POINT THAT THE DEFENDANT WAS DENIED HIS RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS?

 A. WAS IT ERROR FOR THE LOWER COURT TO OVERRULE DEFENSE COUNSEL'S OBJECTION TO THE QUESTION," WHAT DO YOU MEAN, THE WAY SHE WOULD FRENCH KISS? "

 During the State's redirect examination of Judy McCauley, the following occurred:

 Q. You said the defendant said the children [of Andrea Switzer] needed psychiatric care?

 A. Right.

 Q. When did this take place?

 A. It was April 13th, because when Bob [appellant] kept coming over, we would talk about the case, you know, about Jennifer [Switzer], about how she would French kiss, ...


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