• Court of Appeals of Texas, Eighth District
  • 08-15-00312-CR
  • GINA M. PALAFOX, JUSTICE
Following a bench trial, appellant was convicted of the lesser-included offense of aggravated sexual assault of a child, and sentenced to serve a twenty-five year prison term. Appellant presented two evidentiary issues for appeal: (1) admission of certain outcry testimony; and (2) the evidence presented was legally insufficient to support his conviction. For qualifying offenses, the outcry hearsay exception applied to statements made by a victim to the first person eighteen years of age or older that described the alleged offense. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. art. 38.072, §2(a)(3). Despite appellant contending the school counsel was the proper outcry witness, the court affirmed holding the forensic investigator revealed more details concerning elements of the alleged offense and, therefore, was properly designated as the outcry witness. Although the court noted that notice of the outcry witness's statements was lacking, there was no indication of actual surprise and similar evidence was admitted; respondent's failure to provide notice was harmless. Finally, the court found the testimony and evidence presented was sufficient for a rational trier of fact to find beyond a reasonable doubt that appellant sexually assaulted the complainant, who was then a child under fourteen years of age. Any of the child's inability to recollect prior statements given did not diminish the legal sufficiency of the remaining evidence. Accordingly, the court affirmed appellant's conviction. Jorge Luis Hernandez-Palomares v. The State of Texas, El Paso Court of Appeals, Case No.: 08-15-00312-CR, 09/27/2017

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