Appellant was indicted, convicted, and sentenced to fifteen years imprisonment for first degree burglary, in that he broke and entered an inhabited dwelling house in the night time with intent to ravish.
The State's evidence showed that on the morning of November 1, 1979, the prosecutrix awoke and saw someone hovering over her. She could not see the person's face, but she stated that she screamed and the intruder then pulled the bedcovers over her head. She tried to resist, but the person held her down and told her to shut up or he would kill her. He then fondled her breasts and genitals, unzipped his pants, and pressed his body against her. She could tell that he did not have a shirt on at that time. She pretended to be unconscious and the assailant then dragged her into the living room, dropped her by the door and left. The prosecutrix testified that the screen on her bedroom window was intact when she retired for the night, but that after her assailant left, the screen was broken.
Mrs. Burnita Fuller, a neighbor of the victim stated that about 2:30 A.M. on November 1, 1979, she was awakened by screams and a thumping noise coming from the victim's apartment. Mrs. Fuller's husband called the police and they arrived within three minutes. After the police got there, Mrs. Fuller heard the sound of a door slamming and someone running.
Officer W. E. Toole of the Mobile Police Department testified that on November 1, 1979, he answered a call for help at the victim's address. As Toole approached the premises he heard a door slam and saw a black male with no shirt on and his pants down. The man tried to pull up his pants and began running from Toole. Officer Toole chased the subject through several
At the conclusion of the State's case, appellant moved to exclude the evidence on the ground that a prima facie case of first degree burglary had not been shown. The motion was overruled and appellant called one witness, Mrs. Burnita Fuller. Mrs. Fuller's testimony was similar in substance to her original testimony.
Appellant's motion to exclude at the close of the State's case presents the question of the sufficiency of the evidence to this court. In Gaskin v. State, 53 Ala.App. 64, 297 So.2d 388 (1974), we outlined the elements of the offense of first degree burglary as follows:
All the foregoing elements were properly proved in the case before us. Contrary to appellant's assertion, the broken window screen clearly provided proof of a "breaking and entering." Compare State v. McCall, 4 Ala. 643 (1843). In addition, Miss Davis' testimony about the intruder's conduct, once inside the bedroom, is sufficient to prove the "intent" element. See Hamilton v. State, 270 Ala. 184, 116 So.2d 906 (1959), cert. den., 365 U.S. 852, 80 S.Ct. 1638, 4 L.Ed.2d 1737 (1960).
Appellant contends that the trial court erred when it instructed the jury not to draw "any inference" from the defendant's failure to testify.
From the record:
It is clear from the foregoing portion of the transcript that the trial judge felt it appropriate to explain the law regarding defendant's failure to testify since defense counsel had himself discussed it in argument. It is also evident that, taken in context, the court's comments were a commendable effort to protect the defendant from any unfavorable inferences the jury might have drawn.
Appellant cites Smith v. State, Ala.Cr.App., 370 So.2d 312, for the proposition that, in the absence of a requested charge by the defendant on the subject, comment by the trial judge on the defendant's failure to testify should clearly set out the fact that no inference adverse to the defendant—rather than simply "no inference" —can be drawn from the defendant's failure to take the stand. We find that Smith v. State, supra, does not mandate reversal here since appellant not only took no exception to the court's comments, but also specifically approved the statement. In the absence of an exception to the court's oral charge, there is no basis for appellate review. Crenshaw v. State, Ala. Cr.App., 374 So.2d 448.
Appellant also complains of the following statement made by the trial court in its oral charge to the jury:
Appellant argues that the foregoing was an impermissible comment upon the effect of the evidence in violation of § 12-16-11, Code of Alabama, 1975. This contention is insupportable in view of the fact that appellant took no exception to the charge. Crenshaw v. State, supra. Moreover, it is a well settled proposition of law that, upon review of the trial court's instructions to the jury, the charge must be taken as a whole and not out of context. Van Antwerp v. State, Ala.Cr.App., 358 So.2d 782. The record reveals that immediately after the statement complained of, the judge stated the following:
When this portion of the charge is taken together with the court's earlier statement, it is apparent that the jury was instructed that they could convict only if they found the necessary intent element.
Appellant makes the further argument that the court erred in its refusal of his written requested charges numbered 10 and 11. The requested charges, however, were fully and substantially covered in the court's oral charge and it was not error to refuse them. Barnes v. State, Ala.Cr.App., 361 So.2d 390.
Appellant next asserts that certain photographs of the victim's yard and apartment were not admitted into evidence, yet were taken by the jury to the jury room. First of all, we are not convinced from the record either that the exhibits were not admitted, or that they were, in fact, taken to the jury room. However, assuming both of appellant's assertions to be true, we find no error. It is the responsibility of the defense, along with the prosecution, the court reporter, the acting clerk, and the bailiff, to bring to the court's attention any question regarding what physical evidence shall go to the jury room. "[W]hen the one complaining is no less responsible therefor than others, his complaint is not ordinarily well taken." Merriweather v. State, Ala. Cr.App., 364 So.2d 374.
Finally, appellant contends that the trial court erred by considering impermissible and extraneous matters in imposing sentence on him. At the sentencing hearing the following occurred:
From the quoted excerpt, it is obvious that the trial court was not persuaded by the State's argument that appellant had committed other crimes. The court, in fact, stated that it would consider the prosecutor's argument only to establish the fact that burglary and rape are "a matter of great public concern."
Therefore, we find that no error occurred during the sentencing process. The propriety of a sentence within statutory limits is not reviewable on appeal. Butler v. State, Ala.Cr.App., 344 So.2d 203.
We have searched the record for error prejudicial to appellant and have found none. The judgment of conviction by the Mobile Circuit Court is therefore affirmed.
All the Judges concur.