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Marquis v. State

Supreme Court of Mississippi

May 10, 2018

WILLARD RANDALL MARQUIS a/k/a RANDY MARQUIS a/k/a WILLARD R. MARQUIS
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 12/09/2016

          BOLIVAR COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, HON. CHARLES E. WEBSTER JUDGE.

          TRIAL COURT ATTORNEYS: JAMIE MARIE BANKS ALISON LESLIE FLINT RAYMOND L. WONG BOYD P. ATKINSON

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY: W. DANIEL HINCHCLIFF GEORGE T. HOLMES.

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: KATY GERBER LISA L. BLOUNT.

          DISTRICT ATTORNEY: BRENDA FAY MITCHELL.

          BEFORE WALLER, C.J., CHAMBERLIN AND ISHEE, JJ.

          ISHEE, JUSTICE.

         ¶1. Willard Marquis was convicted for the sexual battery of J.D., [1] a female minor under the age of fourteen. In a pretrial competency hearing, J.D., who was seven at the time, was found to be competent to testify. And a day later, J.D. testified at trial through closed-circuit TV. During the trial, a recording of a forensic interview of J.D. was played before the jury. Also played before the jury was a recording from J.D.'s mother's cell phone in which J.D. told her mother of the alleged sexual abuse. At the end of the trial, the jury found Marquis guilty.

         ¶2. Marquis appeals his conviction for three reasons. First, Marquis claims that J.D. was not competent to testify. Second, Marquis argues that the State's use of a recorded forensic interview of J.D. violated his constitutional right to confront the witnesses against him. And finally, Marquis claims that the State's use of the recorded conversation between J.D. and her mother, along with the recording of the forensic interview, was cumulative evidence which amounted to improper bolstering.

         ¶3. Having reviewed the record, we disagree and affirm Marquis's conviction.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶4. One evening while getting a bath from her mother Amy, J.D., just five years old at the time, informed Amy of several instances in which Marquis[2] had sexually abused her. Upon hearing this, Amy retrieved her cell phone and recorded the rest of J.D.'s claims. Throughout the course of the bath-time conversation with Amy, J.D. claimed that Marquis had touched her-pointing to her vaginal and anal areas. Later that evening, Amy told J.D.'s father, Steven, of J.D.'s claims.

         ¶5. The next day, Steven arrived at the Cleveland Police Department and lodged a complaint; Marquis was then arrested for sexual battery. Marquis's indictment alleged that the sexual-battery incidents occurred between August 1, 2012, and December 31, 2013. A copy of Amy's cell-phone recording was given to the police and eventually was played for the jury at trial.

         ¶6. On September 24, 2014, Rachel Daniels, a social worker for the Children's Safe Center at University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, conducted a forensic interview of J.D. During this interview, J.D. disclosed the details of the alleged sexual abuse. As a result of this interview, Daniels, as an expert in social work and forensic interviewing, concluded that J.D.'s disclosures were consistent with a child who had been sexually ...


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