State of Alabama
from Madison Circuit Court (CC-16-1460)
was convicted of two counts of first-degree sodomy, a
violation of § 13A-6-63(a)(3), Ala. Code 1975, and two
counts of sexual abuse of a child less than 12 years old, a
violation of § 13A-6-69.1, Ala. Code 1975. He was
sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of
parole for each of the sodomy convictions and to 20
years' imprisonment for each of the sexual-abuse
convictions, all sentences to run concurrently. This appeal
evidence presented at R.V.D.'s bench trial indicated that
he sodomized and sexually abused his granddaughter, P.P.,
over a period of approximately five years. P.P. testified
about two specific incidents of abuse. The first incident
P.P. testified about occurred "right before [her] third
birthday." (R. 12.) P.P. stated that R.V.D. told her to
"touch his tinkle spot with [her] hands" and that
he did the same thing to her. (R. 12.) According to P.P.,
R.V.D. would get her to "rub it and stuff like
that." (R. 13.) P.P. also testified that R.V.D. put his
mouth on the same spot on her and would "lick it and
stuff." (R. 14.) P.P. testified that she refers to her
"private" as a "tinkle spot, " and that a
"private" is "where you use the bathroom
from." (R. 18.) P.P. also testified that R.V.D. told her
not to tell anyone what he had done "or else he would
hurt [her]." (R. 16.)
went on to testify about a second incident in which the same
thing happened. P.P. stated that when she was eight years
old, she was at R.V.D.'s house and "Granny was
sleeping, and [R.V.D.] was doing it to me, and he said that
he would give me a honey bun if I did it to him." (R.
16.) According to P.P., she then went to her
grandmother's room and told her what R.V.D. had done.
P.P.'s grandmother relayed the allegations to P.P.'s
mother, who reported the incident to police.
State also introduced three letters R.V.D. wrote to various
members of his family in which he acknowledged that he had
abused P.P. and asked for forgiveness. (R. 42.) In a letter
to P.P., R.V.D. stated: "I am so very sorry for what I
did to you. I wish I could take it all back." (C. 88.)
In the same letter, R.V.D. continued: "Each time I
touched you I prayed for forgiveness and asked God to take
away the temptation, but the next time we were together, I
yielded again." (C. 88.)
defense, R.V.D. called Dr. Glen King, a forensic psychologist
who testified regarding his evaluation of R.V.D. According to
Dr. King, R.V.D. suffered from a condition called
cardiovascular dementia. Dr. King opined that, although
R.V.D. was competent to stand trial, he was unable to
"understand the nature and quality of his actions and
wrongfulness of his acts" at the time he abused P.P. The
trial court was not persuaded; it found R.V.D. guilty of all
appeal, R.V.D. argues that he did not knowingly and
intelligently waive his right to a jury trial. However,
R.V.D. did not first present this issue to the trial court.
Therefore, it is not preserved for appellate review.
"'Review on appeal is restricted to questions and
issues properly and timely raised at trial.' Newsome
v. State, 570 So.2d 703, 717 (Ala.Crim.App.1989).
'An issue raised for the first time on appeal is not
subject to appellate review because it has not been properly
preserved and presented.' Pate v. State, 601
So.2d 210, 213 (Ala.Crim.App.1992). '"[T]o preserve
an issue for appellate review, it must be presented to the
trial court by a timely and specific motion setting out the
specific grounds in support thereof."' McKinney
v. State, 654 So.2d 95, 99 (Ala.Crim.App.1995) (citation
omitted). 'The statement of specific grounds of objection
waives all grounds not specified, and the trial court will
not be put in error on grounds not assigned at trial.'
Ex parte Frith, 526 So.2d 880, 882 (Ala. 1987).
'The purpose of requiring a specific objection to
preserve an issue for appellate review is to put the trial
judge on notice of the alleged error, giving an opportunity
to correct it before the case is submitted to the jury.'
Ex parte Works, 640 So.2d 1056, 1058 (Ala.
Ex parte Coulliette, 857 So.2d 793, 794-95 (Ala.
this argument is refuted by the record. Before trial, R.V.D.
filed a "Motion to Waive Jury Trial" in which he
specifically stated that it would be in his "best
interest to be tried by the Judge in this matter." (C.
18.) Both R.V.D. and defense counsel signed the motion.
Additionally, the following exchange occurred immediately
before the trial began:
"THE COURT: [Defense counsel], it's my understanding
that in this particular case that you have waived your
client's right to a trial by jury and request that I try
this case on a non-jury basis?
"[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: I have, Your Honor, and I've
talked to my client at length ...