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Harris v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

March 31, 2015

ORVIN HARRIS A/K/A ORVIN B. HARRIS, APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, APPELLEE

Page 474

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: HARRISON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 01/16/2014. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. LISA P. DODSON. TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: CONVICTED OF COUNT I, GRATIFICATION OF LUST, AND SENTENCED TO FIFTEEN YEARS; AND COUNT II, GRATIFICATION OF LUST, AND SENTENCED TO FIFTEEN YEARS, WITH TEN YEARS SUSPENDED, FOLLOWED BY FIVE YEARS OF PROBATION, WITH THE SENTENCES TO RUN CONSECUTIVELY IN THE CUSTODY OF THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS; AND TO PAY $300 TO THE CRIME VICTIMS' COMPENSATION FUND, $1,000 TO MISSISSIPPI CHILDREN'S TRUST FUND, AND A $1,000 FINE; AND TO REGISTER AS A SEX OFFENDER.

AFFIRMED.

FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER, BY: HUNTER NOLAN AIKENS.

FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, BY: LAURA HOGAN TEDDER.

BEFORE LEE, C.J., BARNES AND MAXWELL, JJ. GRIFFIS, P.J., BARNES, ISHEE, ROBERTS, CARLTON, MAXWELL, FAIR AND JAMES, JJ., CONCUR. IRVING, P.J., CONCURS IN PART AND IN THE RESULT.

Page 475

NATURE OF THE CASE: CRIMINAL - FELONY

LEE, C.J.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

[¶1] Orvin Harris was convicted of two counts of gratification of lust. Harris was sentenced to fifteen years on each count, with ten years suspended on the second count. His sentences were ordered to be served consecutively in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

[¶2] Harris's post-trial motions were denied. Harris now appeals, asserting that the trial court erred by (1) admitting prior bad acts into evidence and (2) admitting unreliable hearsay testimony under the tender-years exception.

FACTS

[¶3] Harris moved to Gulfport, Mississippi, in August 2011. His daughter, Sharon, lived nearby. Sharon's daughter, T.M.,[1] who was ten years old at that time, began visiting Harris's house regularly. On June 19, 2012, Sharon took T.M. to her pediatrician, Dr. Tamera Harper, because T.M. had discovered bumps on her genitals. Sharon and T.M. returned to Dr. Harper on July 31, 2012, because T.M.'s condition had not improved. At some point Sharon asked T.M. if she had been inappropriately touched. T.M. responded, " I don't want him to go to jail." Sharon took T.M. home to wait for her husband, Richard, to arrive. Sharon and Richard asked T.M. if anyone had touched her inappropriately. T.M. told them Harris had touched her genital area with his hands, and he had placed her hand on his genitals. Sharon and Richard took T.M. to the Gulfport Police Department, where T.M. was interviewed by Officer Marcus Oster. T.M. told Officer Oster that Harris had touched her " private parts," and he had placed her hand on his " private parts." T.M. said these incidents occurred at night in Harris's bed. T.M. stated that Harris told her not to tell anyone.

[¶4] T.M. was also questioned at the police department by Kristen Clark, a forensic interviewer with the Child Advocacy Center. T.M. informed Clark that Harris ...


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