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Shoemaker v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

March 6, 2018

RICKY L. SHOEMAKER, SR. A/K/A RICKY SHOEMAKER A/K/A RICKY L. SHOEMAKER A/K/A RICKY L. SHOEMAKER, JR. A/K/A RICKEY L. SHOEMAKER A/K/A RICKEY SHOEMAKER APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 05/23/2016

         COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: RANKIN COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. STEVE S. RATCLIFF III TRIAL JUDGE.

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY: JUSTIN TAYLOR COOK

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: KAYLYN HAVRILLA MCCLINTON

          DISTRICT ATTORNEY: MICHAEL GUEST

          BEFORE GRIFFIS, P.J., WESTBROOKS AND TINDELL, JJ.

          TINDELL, J.

         ¶1. A Rankin County jury convicted Ricky Shoemaker of Count I, sexual battery, and Count II, gratification of lust. See Miss. Code Ann. §§ 97-3-95(1)(d) & 97-5-23(1) (Rev. 2014). On appeal, Shoemaker asserts the following issues: (1) he received ineffective assistance of counsel; (2) his indictment was defective; (3) his convictions violate his right against double jeopardy; and (4) the circuit court erroneously admitted prior-bad-acts evidence.

         ¶2. Finding no error, we affirm Shoemaker's convictions and sentences.

         FACTS

         ¶3. On January 16, 2015, Shoemaker's thirteen-year-old step-granddaughter, Amy, [1] told her mother that Shoemaker had sexually assaulted her on numerous occasions. Amy's parents contacted the Rankin County Sheriff's Office, which investigated the reported sexual abuse. On July 2, 2015, a grand jury indicted Shoemaker for Count I, sexual battery, and Count II, gratification of lust. After amendment, the indictment charged that, over a two-year span, [2] Shoemaker committed the alleged acts against Amy at a time when Shoemaker was more than twenty-four months older than Amy.

         ¶4. On March 3, 2016, the State filed a notice of intent to elicit testimony under Mississippi Rule of Evidence 404(b) about other prior bad acts Shoemaker had committed. The notice provided that Freedom Newton, Shoemaker's former stepdaughter, planned to testify Shoemaker sexually assaulted her when she was a child. The State asserted Newton's testimony was admissible under Rule 404(b) "to prove . . . motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, identity, [or] absence of mistake or accident." Shoemaker filed an unsuccessful motion to limit the trial testimony to only the acts charged in the indictment.

         ¶5. At trial, Amy's mother, Becky, testified that she was Shoemaker's cousin and had married Shoemaker's stepson, Cliff. Becky testified that she and Cliff separated in 2007 or 2008 and then divorced in 2010. During the couple's marriage, the family lived next door to Cliff's mother and Shoemaker. After the separation, Becky and the children moved. However, Cliff continued to live next door to his mother and stepfather, and the children visited Cliff every other weekend and on holidays.

         ¶6. Becky testified that, around the time she and the children moved, Amy failed the fourth grade and had to repeat it. Becky also testified that Amy began having emotional outbursts as though "something was bothering her." However, Becky stated that she did not know at the time the reason for Amy's outbursts.

         ¶7. According to Becky, when Amy was about eleven years old, she stopped visiting her dad's house unless he asked her to visit or unless her mother made her go. On January 16, 2015, Amy's grandmother and Shoemaker hosted a birthday party for Amy's younger cousin. Although Amy begged not to attend, Becky insisted. After Amy grew hysterical, though, Becky questioned her daughter further. Amy finally disclosed Shoemaker's sexual abuse. Becky testified that she believed Amy had told her the truth because of "the sheer terror I [saw] on that child's face when she told me, and you can't make stuff like that up." Becky called Amy's father, who contacted the authorities. Becky testified that Amy had "gained absolutely nothing" by disclosing the sexual abuse. In fact, Becky stated that Amy had continued to experience problems at school since the disclosure and had even lost relationships with friends and close family members who did not believe her.

         ¶8. Following Becky's testimony, the courtroom was cleared for Amy, who was fourteen years old at the time of trial. Amy stated that Shoemaker's sexual abuse began when she was five or six and ended when she was eleven or twelve. Amy admitted that she stopped wanting to visit her dad because she also had to go to her grandparents' house, where "[b]ad stuff" happened. Amy testified that the "[b]ad stuff" happened "a lot" when she and Shoemaker were alone together in his car, his house, and her dad's house.

         ¶9. According to Amy, Shoemaker touched both the outside and inside of the "private areas between [her] legs" with his hands. Amy testified that Shoemaker touched her both on top of and underneath her clothes in her "private areas" and that he touched her chest with both his hands and his mouth. In addition, Amy stated that Shoemaker made her massage "his private areas" with her hands and that sometimes a "[g]ooey, whitish, clearish" substance came out.

         ¶10. Amy testified that Shoemaker said no one would believe her if she revealed the sexual abuse. She stated that Shoemaker also said any disclosure would get him into trouble, which would negatively affect Amy's younger cousin who lived with Shoemaker and his wife. After finally revealing the abuse to her mother, Amy testified that "a lot" had changed and that she was no longer as close to several family members.

         ¶11. Sheila Tucker, a juvenile investigator with the Rankin County Sheriff's Department, next testified for the State. Based on her investigation into the reported sexual abuse, Tucker contacted the Children's Advocacy Center and scheduled a forensic interview for Amy. From a nearby room, Tucker observed Amy's interview. Tucker stated that Amy seemed nervous and embarrassed to talk about the sexual abuse. However, Tucker further testified that Amy told the interviewer "that on different occasions [Shoemaker] would rub her on her no[-]no spots, what she called her vaginal spots, what she pointed [to] on the diagram" the forensic interviewer provided. Amy further told the forensic interviewer that Shoemaker "would touch her under her ...


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