Stariks v. State

Decision Date26 October 1990
Citation572 So.2d 1301
PartiesBobby STARIKS v. STATE. CR 89-1113.
CourtAlabama Court of Criminal Appeals

Gary A. Hudgins, Dothan, for appellant.

Don Siegelman, Atty. Gen., and Melissa Math, Asst. Atty. Gen., for appellee.

JAMES H. FAULKNER, Retired Justice.

Bobby Stariks was convicted of sexual abuse in the first degree in violation of § 13A-6-66, Code of Alabama (1975), and was sentenced to seven years in the penitentiary. Three issues are raised on appeal.


Stariks contends that the prosecutor's exercise of peremptory challenges to remove male jurors from the venire in order to acquire an exclusively female jury violated the principles of Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79, 106 S.Ct. 1712, 90 L.Ed.2d 69 (1986). We disagree.

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals addressed this issue in United States v. Hamilton, 850 F.2d 1038 (4th Cir.1988), cert. denied, 493 U.S. 1069, 110 S.Ct. 1109, 107 L.Ed.2d 1017 (1990). The appellants in Hamilton challenged the Government's use of peremptory strikes of women made solely on the basis of their gender and argued that the principles of Batson and the Equal Protection Clause had been violated. The Fourth Circuit held:

"Clearly, if the Supreme Court in Batson had desired, it could have abolished the peremptory challenge or prohibited the exercise of the challenge on the basis of race, gender, age or other group classification. A careful examination of the Batson opinion, however, leads this Court to the firm conclusion that, in light of the important position of the peremptory challenge in our jury system, the Court intended Batson to apply to prohibit the exercise of peremptory challenges on the basis of race only."

850 F.2d at 1042-43.

We adopt the holding of the Fourth Circuit in Hamilton and therefore reject Stariks's attempt to extend Batson to cases of alleged gender discrimination in the exercise of peremptory challenges.


Stariks contends that the trial court committed reversible error in failing to give a curative instruction directing the jury to disregard a witness's statement about physical evidence of sexual abuse of the victim's sister.

During defense counsel's cross-examination of Sergeant Danny McGriff of the Dothan Police Department, McGriff testified that there was no physical evidence that the seven-year-old victim, T. M., had been sexually abused. On redirect examination of McGriff, the following occurred:

"Q. Mr. Hudgins asked you about physical evidence. By that, you didn't find any signs of blood or cuts or tears or anything like that; is that right?

"A. No, sir. No, sir, not with T.

"Q. How about [the sister]?

"A. Yes, sir.

"MR. HUDGINS: Judge, I'm going to object.

"THE COURT: Sustained.

"MR. HUDGINS: Your Honor, I would ask that the Court instruct the jury to disregard that last comment from the stand.

"MR. BINFORD: That's right on point with the case that we gave the Court, the sister--acts that were committed against the sister


(Bench Conference, off the Record.)

"MR. BINFORD: That's all I have at this time.

"THE COURT: Okay. You can step down. Anything else, Gary?

"MR. HUDGINS: Judge, I just want an opportunity to recall him.

"THE COURT: I'll give you an opportunity to recall him if you have one or two more questions off the tape.

"MR. BINFORD: Judge, if I could also ask him if we could borrow his tape player?

"THE COURT: Okay. If he wants to loan it to you."

It is clear from this colloquy that Stariks made no objection to the prosecutor's question about the victim's sister until after the question had been asked and answered. Furthermore, Stariks then received a favorable ruling on his objection. "Where a question is asked and answered before an objection is made, the objection comes too late, and the trial court's ruling is not error." Thompson v. State, 527 So.2d 777, 779 (Ala.Cr.App.1988).

Although Stariks then requested a curative instruction, an off-the-record discussion ensued before the trial court could rule on Stariks's request. At the conclusion of the off-the-record bench conference, the prosecutor indicated that he had no further questions of Sergeant McGriff. The trial court then specifically asked defense counsel if he had "[a]nything else." Defense counsel replied that he only wanted an opportunity to recall McGriff and to borrow the witness's tape player. The court granted defense counsel's requests. At no time during this exchange did Stariks reiterate on the record his previous request for a curative instruction or object on the record to the court's failure to give such an instruction. Stariks has therefore failed to preserve this issue for appellate review. Aplin v. State, 421 So.2d 1299, 1302 (Ala.Cr.App.1981); Ex parte Chambers, 522 So.2d 313 (Ala.1987).


Stariks contends that the trial court committed reversible error in admitting into evidence an inculpatory statement made by him outside the presence of counsel because the State, she says, failed to establish that he knowingly and intelligently waived his privilege against self-incrimination.

It is axiomatic that extrajudicial confessions are prima facie involuntary, and the State bears the burden of proving voluntariness and the proper Miranda predicate for the statement's admissibility. Lewis v. State, 535 So.2d 228, 234 (Ala.Cr.App.1988). The determination of the statement's voluntariness, moreover, is left to the trial court's discretion, and that decision will not be disturbed on appeal unless it is palpably contrary to the great weight of the evidence. Hammins v. State, 439 So.2d 809, 811 (Ala.Cr.App.1983). The trial court, furthermore, need only be convinced by a preponderance of the evidence that the statement was voluntarily made. Bush v. State, 523 So.2d 538, 554 (Ala.Cr.App.1988).

The record clearly supports the trial court's...

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    • December 30, 1993 is palpably contrary to the great weight of the evidence. Uber v. State, 596 So.2d 608, 612 (Ala.Crim.App.1991); Stariks v. State, 572 So.2d 1301, 1304 (Ala.Crim.App.1990). Whether a statement was voluntary is to be determined under the totality of the circumstances. Rogers v. State, 417......
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    ...Ex parte Murphy, 596 So.2d 45 (Ala.1992) (Maddox, J., dissenting); Mims v. State, 591 So.2d 120 (Ala.Cr.App.1991); and Stariks v. State, 572 So.2d 1301 (Ala.Cr.App.1990).14 In Purkett, the Court said:"Under our Batson jurisprudence, once the opponent of a peremptory challenge has made out a......
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    ...(2) that the statement was voluntary, i.e., that it was not procured through coercion or improper inducement. See Stariks v. State, 572 So.2d 1301, 1304 (Ala.Crim.App.1990); McLeod v. State, 718 So.2d 727, 729 (Ala.1998). The initial determination of admissibility is made by the trial court......
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