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Carpenter v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

September 3, 2013

CHRISTOPHER MICHAEL CARPENTER A/K/A CHRISTOPHER CARPENTER, APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, APPELLEE

Page 1054

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: HARRISON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 01/20/2012. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. JOHN C. GARGIULO. TRIAL COURT CONVICTED OF COUNTS I AND II, TOUCHING OF A CHILD FOR LUSTFUL PURPOSES, AND SENTENCED TO FIFTEEN YEARS FOR EACH COUNT, WITH THE SENTENCES TO RUN CONSECUTIVELY IN THE CUSTODY OF THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, WITH FIFTEEN YEARS SUSPENDED AND FIVE YEARS OF POST-RELEASE SUPERVISION.

FOR APPELLANT: JUSTIN TAYLOR COOK, GEORGE T. HOLMES.

FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, BY: W. GLENN WATTS.

BEFORE LEE, C.J., BARNES AND ISHEE, JJ. LEE, C.J., IRVING AND GRIFFIS, P.JJ., ISHEE, ROBERTS, CARLTON, MAXWELL, FAIR AND JAMES, JJ., CONCUR.

OPINION

Page 1055

NATURE OF THE CASE: CRIMINAL - FELONY

BARNES, J.

¶1. Christopher Michael Carpenter was convicted on two counts of lustful touching of a child and sentenced to fifteen years on each count to be served in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC), with the sentences to run consecutively and fifteen years to be suspended, and five years of post-release supervision. Carpenter appeals his convictions, and finding no error, we affirm.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶2. In 2009, Carpenter was living with his girlfriend and her seven-year-old daughter, " Hope." [1] On March 14, 2009, Hope stayed overnight at her aunt's home and revealed that Carpenter had made her watch " dirty" movies when the two were alone. The next morning, Hope additionally told her aunt that Carpenter would tickle her, " take and hide her panties," and make her touch his " weewee." The aunt quickly contacted family members, including Hope's father. Hope reiterated to her father what she had told her aunt, and he contacted the police.

¶3. As a result, Hope was removed from her home by the Department of Human Services (DHS) and taken to a shelter. At the request of DHS, Dr. Jule Miller, a clinical psychiatrist, interviewed Hope on March 18, 2009, to establish her emotional and mental status to determine whether she should be permanently removed from the home. During the interview, Hope told Dr. Miller the same information she had related to others - that Carpenter made her watch movies with naked people in them, told her to " rub his private part up and down," tickled her, and took her panties away.

¶4. On March 4, 2010, Carpenter was convicted on two counts of touching a child for lustful purposes and sentenced to fifteen years on each count in the custody of the MDOC, with the sentences to run consecutively and fifteen years to be suspended, with five years of post-release supervision. He subsequently filed a motion for a new trial, which the circuit court denied. Carpenter now appeals his convictions to this Court, claiming that the circuit court abused its discretion in the admission of evidence and that the circuit court improperly denied his motion for a mistrial.

DISCUSSION

I. Whether the circuit court misapplied Mississippi Rule of Evidence 803(4) by admitting into evidence the interview conducted by Dr. Miller.

¶5. " The standard of review applied to a circuit judge's admission or exclusion of evidence and testimony is abuse of discretion." Quinn v. State, 97 So.3d 92, 96 (¶ 10) (Miss. Ct. App. 2012) (citing Wade v. State, 583 So.2d 965, 967 (Miss. 1991)). Mississippi Rule of Evidence 803(4) provides that the following hearsay statements made for the purposes of medical diagnosis or treatment are admissible:

Statements made for purposes of medical diagnosis or treatment and describing medical history, or past or present symptoms, pain, or sensations, or the inception or general character of the cause or external source thereof insofar as reasonably ...

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