Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

WILLIAM THOMAS SMITH v. STATE OF MISSISSIPPI

FEBRUARY 01, 1984

WILLIAM THOMAS SMITH
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI



BEFORE WALKER, ROY NOBLE LEE and BOWLING

ROY NOBLE LEE, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

William Thomas Smith was convicted in the Circuit Court of Pontotoc County, Honorable Fred Wicker, presiding, on five counts of armed robbery and, pursuant to the jury verdict of guilty agreeing that Smith be sentenced to life in the state penitentiary on each count, the lower court so sentenced Smith, the sentences to run concurrently. Smith has appealed to this Court and assigns ten errors in the trial below.

On August 30, 1981, appellant, wearing a mask and armed with a six-shot pump shotgun, entered the Pleasant

 Grove Baptist Church in Pontotoc County, during the Sunday morning worship service, and began to threaten and vilify the congregation. Appellant ordered members to pass before him and drop their money and other valuables on the floor. He threatened that he could kill six people, since his shotgun was fully loaded. As a result of his actions, members of the congregation were frightened and terrified, and began to comply with appellant's orders.

 Rev. Leroy Crouch, pastor of the church, had been slowly inching his way toward appellant and he lunged and grabbed appellant's arms. Immediately, several men in the congregation ran forward and appellant was disarmed, subdued, bound, and blindfolded. His mask was removed and the sheriff was called. Appellant was subsequently identified as William Thomas Smith. He was incarcerated and bond was fixed at $25,000.

 I.

 Did the lower court err in refusing to accept appellant's guilty plea to Count II of the indictment in #8772?

 The indictment in Cause No. 8771, the case sub judice, charged appellant with five counts of armed robbery. The indictment in cause no. 8772 charged Smith with one count of attempted kidnapping and one count of disturbing a worship service. The appellant attempted to enter a guilty plea to Count II of the indictment in No. 8772 and contends that he constructively entered a guilty plea thereto and contends that he was placed in jeopardy insofar as the present cause is concerned.

 The court did not conduct a hearing to determine whether or not the proposed plea was understood, free and voluntary. The prosecuting attorney moved to nol-pros Count II of indictment No. 8772, which was sustained by the lower court.

 Appellant does not show how or why double jeopardy will apply in a situation such as presents itself here. Under these circumstances the principle stated in Ramseur v. State, 368 So.2d 842 (Miss. 1979) applies.

 However, we are of the opinion that no double jeopardy issue exists and that there is no merit in this assignment. Hughes v. State, 401 So. 2d 1100 (Miss. 1981); Blockburger v. United States, 284 U.S. 299, 52 S. Ct. 180, 76 L.Ed. 306 (1932).

 II.

 Did the lower court err in declining to grant appellant a change of venue?

 On a motion for change of venue, the State introduced five witnesses and the appellant introduced seven witnesses, including himself. The substance of the State's evidence was that appellant could obtain a fair trial from an unprejudiced and unbiased jury in Pontotoc County, while that of the appellant was to the contrary. Fourteen newspaper articles relating to the incident were introduced in the record.

 The appellant cites Seals v. State, 208 Miss. 236, 44 So.2d 61 (1950), to the effect that witnesses of the State testified that they believed appellant could get a fair trial because of the good people in Pontotoc County. That type testimony was disapproved in Seals. However, the State's witnesses each testified that they knew of no prejudice against appellant in the public mind and, in their judgment, appellant could obtain a fair and unbiased trial in the county. The sheriff of Pontotoc County testified that he had talked to at least seventy-five people in the county in an effort to determine whether or not there was prejudice against appellant and whether or not he could obtain a fair trial, and, as a result of his investigation, it was his opinion that appellant could obtain a fair trial in the county.

 On conflicting evidence, the trial judge determined that appellant could receive a fair trial in Pontotoc County from an unprejudiced and unbiased jury, and we cannot say that he abused his discretion in overruling the motion for change of venue. Tubbs v. State, 402 ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.