IN RE COMMITMENT OF LESTER G. TALLEY
Appeal from the 185th District Court Harris County, Texas
Trial Court Case No. 513958
consists of Chief Justice Radack and Justices Jennings and
appeal from a civil commitment order, a jury unanimously
found that Lester G. Talley is a sexually violent predator as
defined in the Texas Health and Safety Code and therefore is
subject to civil commitment. See Tex. Health &
Safety Code Ann. §§ 841.081-841.151. (West 2015).
On appeal, Talley contends that the trial court erred in (1)
denying Talley's challenges for cause to six venire
members; (2) admitting Talley's written confession to
rebut his testimony; and (3) directing a verdict that Talley
is a person who has been convicted of more than one sexually
violent offense and a sentence was imposed for at least one
of the offenses. Finding no error, we affirm.
September 2015, the State sued Talley in Harris County,
seeking a determination that Talley is a sexually violent
predator subject to civil commitment. See Tex.
Health & Safety Code Ann. § 841.081. Talley has four
previous convictions in Texas for the aggravated sexual
assault of multiple children, as well as convictions in
Missouri for sexual assault and burglary. Talley admitted to
the Texas sexual assault convictions in response to requests
for admissions. Talley also admitted to his previous
convictions during trial. Certified copies of the convictions
were introduced into evidence.
jury selection, some of the venire members vacillated when
asked whether they could set aside any bias or prejudice
after hearing evidence that a person was a pedophile. Counsel
[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: So, if you hear about sex offenses against
children and a sexual attraction to children, I just need to
know, would your feelings be so strong that you would not be
able to base your decision off the evidence and the law
presented in court? And if you could, just hold them up for
[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: So if you hear that someone has been
diagnosed with pedophilia, would you be able to set aside any
bias or prejudice, listen to the evidence and follow the law?
Or would your feelings be so strong you wouldn't be able
to hear anything else, doesn't matter what the State has
to prove, that's it, can't do it.
members 5, 8, 11, 23, 24, and 26 responded affirmatively to
Talley's disjunctive question by raising their hands. The
State objected that the questions were improper commitment
questions. The trial court then rephrased the question:
THE COURT: Okay. The question really is can you listen to all
the evidence and if you hear that somebody is a pedophile,
not just use that to answer the question.
members 5, 8, 11, 23, 24, and 26 did not continue with their
affirmative response after the trial court rephrased the
question. At the conclusion of jury selection, the trial
court granted some challenges for cause to the venire and
THE COURT: I'm just looking for your challenges.
STATE: Okay. We have 2, 3, 4, 6, 10, 13, 16, 18, 19, 21-
STATE: 28, 29, 31, 33, 34, 29, 46, 48, 54, 55
STATE: 54, 55, 63, 66, 73, 76, 79
[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: Okay. I think I'm ready. Should I do
those in addition to the ones-I would be in agreement with-?
THE COURT: All those?
[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: Correct. But I have additional strikes ...