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Gonzalez v. State

Florida Court of Appeals, First District

June 22, 2018

Juan Enrique Gonzalez, Appellant,
State of Florida, Appellee.

         Not final until disposition of any timely and authorized motion under Fla. R. App. P. 9.330 or 9.331.

          On appeal from the Circuit Court for Gadsden County. Barbara K. Hobbs, Judge.

          Andy Thomas, Public Defender, Kathleen Stover, Assistant Public Defender, Tallahassee, for Appellant.

          Pamela Jo Bondi, Attorney General, Heather Flanagan Ross, Assistant Attorney General, Tallahassee, for Appellee.

          B.L. THOMAS, C. JUDGE

         In this collateral appeal, Appellant argues that his trial counsel was ineffective under the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Following a jury trial, Appellant was convicted of two counts of capital sexual battery and sentenced to life imprisonment, based on sexual intercourse with a neighbor's ten-year-old daughter. After his judgment and sentence were affirmed on direct appeal, Appellant sought postconviction relief under Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.850, which was denied.

         Appellant now challenges the postconviction court's denial of three claims relating to his counsel's representation at trial, as follows: (1) Failure to move to suppress testimony by an investigator who entered Appellant's home without a warrant; (2) failure to have the DNA evidence retested and analyzed by an independent expert; and (3) failure to demonstrate that Appellant's girlfriend could have been the source of the DNA on Appellant's underwear. Because we conclude that Appellant cannot show prejudice from any purported deficient trial representation, we affirm the judgment below denying postconviction relief.


         The victim's mother testified that Appellant had persuaded her to move into a mobile home very near to his mobile home. He was very kind, offering to make repairs to her previous mobile home and otherwise appeared very "cool." On the day of the crimes, Appellant visited her residence and asked to borrow a movie, picking out "Chicken Little." The victim's younger sister then pleaded with her mother to be allowed to watch the movie with Appellant at his mobile home. Finally relenting, but to ensure that the younger sister was not alone at Appellant's home, the mother directed the victim to also go to Appellant's home. Unbeknownst to the mother, however, the younger sister left Appellant's trailer, but the victim did not return home for 20-30 minutes.

         The mother testified that when the victim returned home, she appeared afraid and nervous, like a "deer caught in headlights" and her "facial affect and body language" were "completely different" than before she went to Appellant's home. The mother testified that the victim asked "how was her day going," and that the victim had never before asked her such a question. She immediately asked the victim what was wrong, and the victim became even more nervous. She told her mother that "she didn't want to ruin her day." She then told her mother that Appellant had "messed with her."

         The impact on the mother was "shock," and she immediately took the victim into a bedroom and asked more specifically what happened. The victim told her that Appellant had put his penis into her vagina and her anus. The mother examined the victim and, after observing what appeared to be injuries, immediately took her to the hospital.

         Before they left for the hospital, however, Appellant came back to their mobile home, saying he wanted to "fix the bathroom and so forth." The mother pretended not to know what the victim had reported to her.

         As soon as Appellant left, the Mother immediately took her daughter to the hospital, where the victim was examined and interviewed by the Child Protection Team. The mother testified that the victim has since suffered nightmares and attempted to hurt herself after the sexual crimes. She testified that just before trial, the victim's suffering had worsened and she was concerned she might have to "institutionalize" the child.

         The victim, age eleven at the time of trial, testified to the events, with the court reporter noting that she was making "unintelligible noises" during her testimony. The victim testified that she "did not want to talk about" the assault, but she confirmed that her mother had told her about "good" and "bad" touches before the crimes occurred. She also confirmed that her mother had told her that if anyone touched her in a "bad" way, she should tell her mother. The victim testified that she knew Appellant as "Juan," and that no one else was with them in the mobile home after her younger sister left. When asked if she would tell the jury what happened in Appellant's mobile home, the child tried to do so but then again made an "unintelligible noise."

         The victim, referring to anatomical drawings, then testified that she told her mother that Appellant did something "bad" and "touched me in the privates." She testified that Appellant was on top of her, he pulled her clothes down, and put his penis in her vagina. She testified that he then "made me turn on my side, and he did it on the back." She clarified that Appellant sexually assaulted her "butt." The victim testified that Appellant gave her toilet paper after the assault. When she was confused about what to do, Appellant used the toilet paper to wipe her body. She then ran home to her mother. The victim testified that she was taken to the hospital and the Child Protective Team offices in Tallahassee. She testified that she told them the "truth" and her testimony at trial was the "truth."

         The victim identified Appellant through a photograph of how he looked on the day of the crimes. The victim could not identify Appellant at trial. She testified that Appellant was the person who committed the crimes, that she knew him for a "day or two," and that he "fixed things" around the trailer. The victim confirmed that the events occurred in Appellant's mobile home. She also testified that no one else was in the mobile home when Appellant assaulted her, and no one else committed the crimes.

         On cross-examination, defense counsel established that on the day of the events, the victim was shown only one picture of Appellant. Defense counsel also elicited testimony that the victim had not volunteered the description of the events to her mother, but that her mother had asked her what happened. Defense counsel also successfully elicited a statement ...

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