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Williams v. State

March 24, 1998

WILLIAMS V. STATE


Before Mcmillin, P.j., Payne, And Southwick, JJ.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Southwick, J.

CLIFF WILLIAMS, APPELLANT v. STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, APPELLEE

THIS OPINION IS NOT DESIGNATED FOR PUBLICATION AND MAY NOT BE CITED, PURSUANT TO M.R.A.P. 35-B

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 07/18/95

TRIAL JUDGE: HON. MARCUS D. GORDON

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: NESHOBA COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT

NATURE OF THE CASE: CRIMINAL - FELONY

TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: CONVICTED OF SEXUAL BATTERY AND GRATIFICATION OF LUST AND SENTENCED TO TEN YEARS AND FIVE YEARS RESPECTIVELY, SENTENCES TO RUN CONSECUTIVELY

DISPOSITION AFFIRMED - 3/24/98

MOTION FOR REHEARING FILED:

CERTIORARI FILED:

MANDATE ISSUED:

Cliff Williams was convicted of sexual abuse and gratification of lust by the Circuit Court of Neshoba County. Williams appeals, alleging these errors: (1) after the child was revealed to be a compulsive liar, experts were allowed to give opinions that the child was telling the truth and that she had been exhibiting conduct indicating that she was sexually abused; (2) his motion for continuance and motion for additional discovery should have been granted on the morning of trial; and (3) the verdict was against the overwhelming weight of the evidence. Finding no merit to these assertions, we affirm.

FACTS

Before trial, Williams filed several motions, all of which were denied. These included a motion in limine seeking to prohibit opinions by witnesses concerning the truthfulness of the child; a motion for additional discovery; and a motion for continuance. The trial court determined that there was no adequate reason shown to grant the motions.

We will protect the identity of the child by calling her E.B. She was the first witness for the State. E.B. stated that from the time that she was nine until she was twelve, her stepfather, Cliff Williams, had sexually abused her. She said that the first instance was when Williams called her into his bedroom and began asking her whether her mother had told her about sex. E.B. said that she had. Williams asked her if she could keep a secret. Despite that E.B. said that she could not, Williams insisted that she could. Williams pulled his pants down and exposed himself. The abuse gradually escalated. It occurred every day or at least every other day, usually before E.B. went to school. Her mother was at work during these events. There were other occasions for the abuse as well.

Williams threatened to kill E.B. if she told anyone about the abuse. In August of 1994, E.B.'s mother changed shifts at work and the abuse stopped. Finally, in October of 1994, E.B. told her mother what had been occurring. She graphically described Williams's unusual genitals to her mother. Additionally, she relayed specific instances when abuse had occurred. The degree of detail and the extent of E.B.'s sexual knowledge led the mother to believe that the child had been abused by Williams.

On cross-examination, E.B. was questioned about instances of lying. She admitted to lying at times but maintained that she was telling the truth when she said that Williams had abused her. The mother testified next. She told the jury that since Williams was the father of their six-year old son, she had not wanted to inform the sheriff of the abuse. She testified that she went through denial because Williams had seemed to be such a good husband and father that she could hardly believe what E.B. was saying. She stated that she tried to persuade E.B. to change her story so that their family would not be broken up. ...


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