Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

In re Commitment of Talley

Court of Appeals of Texas, First District

April 27, 2017

IN RE COMMITMENT OF LESTER G. TALLEY

         On Appeal from the 185th District Court Harris County, Texas Trial Court Case No. 513958

          Panel consists of Chief Justice Radack and Justices Jennings and Bland.

          OPINION

          Jane Bland Justice.

         In this 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.

         BACKGROUND

         In 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.

         During 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 asked:

[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 me high.
****
[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.

         Venire 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.

         Venire 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 denied others:

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 ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.