Court of Appeals of Texas, First District, Houston
On Appeal from the County Criminal Court at Law No. 1, Harris County, Texas. Trial Court Case No. 1738451.
For Appellant: Alexander Bunin, Chief Public Defender, Cheri Duncan, Assistant Public Defender-Harris County, Texas.
For State: Devon Anderson, District Attorney, Clinton A. Morgan, Assistant District Attorney, Coby Leslie, Joshua Somers, Assistant District Attorney-Harris County, Houston, TX.
Jane Bland, Justice.
A jury convicted Wilson Tarley of assault of an individual with whom he had a dating relationship and assessed punishment at ninety days' confinement. On appeal, Tarley contends that the trial court erred in admitting Inekia Gentles' out-of-court statements; he asserts that the Sixth Amendment's Confrontation Clause bars their admission. Finding no error, we affirm.
In February 2011, a police officer arrived at a Houston apartment complex in response to a call reporting an assault. There, the officer met Inekia Gentles who told him that her boyfriend, Wilson Tarley, had choked her and beaten her several times that day. The State filed an information against Tarley in connection with the assault.
In March 2011, a representative of the district attorney's office called Gentles at the apartment she shared with Tarley and asked her to testify at Tarley's trial for the February 2011 assault. Tarley overheard the conversation. He asked Gentles to deny that the assault occurred; she refused to agree. Over the next two weeks, Tarley prevented Gentles from leaving the apartment. Tarley also abused Gentles by slapping her, pulling her hair, and beating her with a belt. Gentles eventually escaped and ran to a hospital across the street.
A police officer arrived at the hospital and met Gentles, who told him that Tarley had assaulted her. The officer testified that she was crying, frightened, and injured. He drove her from the hospital to a nearby hotel. Another police officer spoke with Gentles a few days later. Gentles told the officer that she was leaving
for Florida the next morning and that she was no longer interested in pursuing the case against Tarley. She gave the officer no contact information.
Tarley contends that the trial court erred in admitting Gentles' out-of-court statements to the police officers about her assault because the Sixth Amendment's ...