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WILLIE V. McQUEEN v. STATE OF MISSISSIPPI

AUGUST 07, 1985

WILLIE
V.
McQUEEN v. STATE OF MISSISSIPPI



BEFORE PATTERSON, HAWKINS AND ANDERSON

HAWKINS, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

Willie V. McQueen was convicted in the Circuit Court of Clarke County of burglary of an inhabited dwelling and attempted rape, and as a habitual offender under Miss. Code Ann. 99-19-83 was sentenced to serve the remainder of his life in prison without parole.

We affirm.

 McQueen's attorney assigned and strenuously argued several grounds for reversal. We find only one requires discussion, whether a crime of "violence" is so vague in meaning as to preclude criminal prosecution under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

 McQueen was indicted September 15, 1982, for having burglarized a dwelling on March 20 that year and attempted to rape its female occupant, and also as a habitual offender. He was tried March 31, 1983.

 Following his jury conviction for the burglary, the circuit judge conducted a hearing on whether McQueen was a habitual offender under Miss. Code Ann. 99-19-83.

 McQueen was convicted on September 21, 1973, in the Circuit Court of Clarke County for attempted rape, sentenced to serve seven years and actually served three years and four months. On September 21, 1977, he was again sentenced in the Clarke County Circuit Court, following a guilty plea to attempted rape, to serve a term of six years, and he actually served two years and nine months.

 Clearly McQueen came under the proscription of Miss. Code Ann. 99-19-83. The question we address is whether the phrase "crime of violence" is unconstitutionally vague.

 In People v. Ruthenberg, 229 Mich. 315, 201 N.W. 358 (1925), the accused challenged the validity of an indictment, and one of the grounds was the uncertainty of the meaning of "violence" in a criminal statute. The Michigan Supreme Court stated, p. 361:

 In law the term "violence" means the unlawful exercise of physical force, or intimidation by its exhibition and threat of employment. The meaning of the term is not uncertain . . . . The statute and information are not void for uncertainty.

 In Robinson v. State, 149 S.W. 186 (Tex. 1912), the Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas stated, "violence is a general term and includes all sorts of force."

 In Anderson-Berney Bldg. v. Lowry, 143 S.W.2d 401, 403 (Tex. Civ. App. 1940), the court stated:

 "Violence" is force, physical force; force unlawfully exercised. Bouvier in his Law Dictionary, 2 Bouvier Law Dictionary, Rawle's 3rd Rev., p. 3402, defines "violence" as: "The abuse of force. That force which is employed against common right, against the laws, and against public liberty."

 In the case of Boecker v. Aetna Casualty & Surety Co., 281 S.W.2d 561, 564 (Mo. Ct. App. ...


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