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JAMES DANNY HARDEN v. STATE OF MISSISSIPPI

MARCH 06, 1985

JAMES DANNY HARDEN
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI



BEFORE WALKER, P.J., DAN M. LEE AND ROBERTSON, JJ.

ROBERTSON, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

I.

Central to this case is the matter of how much of an overt act must be committed before one is guilty under the laws of this state of the crime of attempted rape. We hold that a lewd suggestion to the victim coupled with the defendant's physically grabbing his victim and attempting to carry her away only to have her break free are under the facts of this case sufficient.

 This appeal also presents questions regarding the sufficiency of an indictment for the offense of attempted rape, as well as the question whether the State prosecuted the defendant under the proper statutes. Finding no error, we affirm.

 A.

 On September 24, 1982 at approximately 6:00 p.m., Janice Griffin was in the midst of a three or four mile exercise walk on the outskirts of Tupelo, Mississippi. A black truck went

 back and forth past Griffin a couple of times and then pulled up beside her. The driver, James Danny Harden, Defendant below and Appellant here, said, "Do you want to f___?" Griffin told him to "Go to Hell" and attempted to walk past Harden, but Harden pulled his truck forward and blocked her path. Harden began to get out of his truck, and Griffin began to run. Harden got back in his truck and chased after Griffin. After overtaking Griffin, Harden got out of his truck, exposed himself, and then took off running after her. Harden caught Griffin and, while holding her by both her wrists, told her, "Come on, you're going with me." Harden began to drag Griffin back to his truck and she struggled with him. Finally, Griffin broke free and ran to nearby residents. Harden did not tear Griffin's clothes, nor did Griffin see any weapon. Harden substantially corroborated these facts in a statement given to Lee County law enforcement authorities on September 25, 1982, to-wit:

 I was in my black Ford pickup. As I was driving, I met a girl walking down the road. I passed her and I turned around and passed her again. I again turned around and this time I stopped beside her in my truck. I had the window down and I asked her, "Do you want to f___?" She then started running and I got out and chased her and I caught her. Right before I stopped I had unzipped my pants. After I caught her I picked her up and started carrying her back toward my truck. As I was carrying her a car came down the road and I let her go. I went back to my truck and left.

 B.

 Procedurally, this case had its genesis on November 5, 1982, when Harden was formally charged with attempted rape in an indictment returned by the Lee County Grand Jury. Harden entered a plea of not guilty to the charges.

 On June 16, 1983, this case was called for trial in the Circuit Court sitting in Tupelo. That afternoon, after hearing all of the evidence and receiving the instructions of the court and the arguments of counsel, the jury found Harden guilty of attempted rape. By order entered June 20, 1983,

 Harden was committed to the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections for a period of four (4) years. Harden timely moved the trial court for a new trial, assigning, among other things, the trial judge's alleged error in refusing to hold that the evidence was insufficient as a

 matter of law to support the verdict, and further arguing that the verdict was contrary to the overwhelming weight of the evidence. The motion was ...


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