Dantrell J. Jenkins, Appellant,
State of Florida, Appellee.
final until disposition of any timely and authorized motion
under Fla. R. App. P. 9.330 or 9.331.
appeal from the Circuit Court for Bradford County. William E.
Thomas, Public Defender, and Kevin Steiger, Assistant Public
Defender, Tallahassee, for Appellant.
Jo Bondi, Attorney General, and Jason Rodriguez, Assistant
Attorney General, Tallahassee, for Appellee.
Jenkins was charged and convicted of sexual battery upon a
person less than twelve years of age and sentenced to life in
prison. On appeal, he argues that the trial court failed to
conduct an adequate hearing before deciding to admit a child
hearsay statement. We disagree and affirm.
is a close relative of the victim's father, had a close
relationship with the victim and her mother, and often came
to their house. Jenkins admitted that in the early morning
hours one day, when the victim was eight years old, he came
to the house high on various drugs and lay down next to her.
Sometime later, the victim's father walked into the
living room and saw the victim with Jenkins' penis in her
mouth. Jenkins contends that he woke up when the victim, on
her own, took Jenkins' pants off and began performing
oral sex on him. Just as he woke up, and before he could stop
her, he claims, her father walked in and saw them. The victim
gave a different account of the events, which included
Jenkins waking her up, grabbing her by the back of the head,
and forcing her to put his penis in her mouth.
victim told her mother that her father had walked in that
morning and saw Jenkins' penis in her mouth; she
mentioned no other details, such as who initiated the act.
The State filed a notice to rely on this statement at trial
as the statement of a child victim pursuant to section
90.803(23), Florida Statutes.
child-hearsay hearing, the victim's mother told the trial
court what the victim told her. The defense conceded that
Jenkins had already admitted that the incident occurred, and
only argued as to who initiated it. But the defense argued
that the victim's mother was not a credible source, and
believed some of her hearing testimony was incompatible with
her previous interview with child services personnel, in
which she purportedly minimized her knowledge of the
incident. If the trial court continued the hearing, the
defense asserted, it could produce the mother's
interviewer and demonstrate the mother's inconsistency
and lack of credibility. If she was found to not be a
credible witness, the statement must be excluded.
trial court stated that any concerns it might have as to the
mother's credibility were alleviated by Jenkins' own
admission. The only statement the victim made to her mother-
that her father walked in and saw her and Jenkins-was
undisputed by Jenkins. The court declined to continue the
hearing and held that, so long as the victim testified at
trial, her statement to her mother would be admitted.
at trial included the testimony of the victim, her mother and
father, the defense witness intended to impeach the mother,
and the individuals who conducted the interviews of both the
victim and Jenkins, as well as the recorded interviews
themselves. The jury returned a guilty verdict within twelve
does not argue that the trial court's findings were
inadequate under section 90.803(23), Florida Statutes, but
only that it should have continued the hearing to allow the
defense to present an impeachment witness.
presents no authority indicating that a trial court must
continue a properly scheduled hearing so the defense may
produce impeachment witnesses, and we decline to impose such
a rule Because there was competent, substantial evidence
supporting the reliability of the statement at issue, the
trial court did not abuse its discretion See Perez v
State,536 So.2d 206, 211 (Fla 1988) This is especially
the case when the defendant stipulates to the truth of the
statement See Id. at 212 (Shaw, J, concurring
specially) ("Even more significantly, the hearsay
statements were consistent with the confession of petitioner
. . . . Under these circumstances, the hearsay corroborated
the confession and served only to prove corpus delicti by
showing that a ...