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Hudson v. State

April 21, 1998

HUDSON
v.
STATE



Before McMILLIN, P.j., Diaz, And King, JJ.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: McMILLIN, P.j

LEON HUDSON, 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: 07/24/96

TRIAL JUDGE: HON. JOHN LESLIE HATCHER

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: COAHOMA COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT

NATURE OF THE CASE: CRIMINAL - FELONY

TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: CT I & CT II UTTERING A FORGERY: EACH CT SENTENCED TO SERVE 10 YRS; CT I CONSECUTIVE ANY PREVIOUSLY IMPOSED; CT II CONCURRENT CT I; CT II CONSECUTIVE ANY PREVIOUSLY IMPOSED; PAY $300.80 RESTITUTION TO VICTIM

DISPOSITION AFFIRMED - 4/21/98

Leon Hudson appeals his conviction on two counts of uttering a forgery. He claims that the trial court erred when it denied his motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict because there was a total failure of proof as to one of the essential elements of the crime. We disagree and affirm the conviction on both counts.

The proof was uncontradicted that Hudson persuaded a local grocery store to cash two checks made out to him that were drawn on an account at United Southern Bank styled "Fields Service Center." The former owner of Fields Service Center testified that he had, prior to the time the checks were presented, ceased doing business and had closed out the checking account in question. He testified that he had left the checkbook in a desk drawer at the location of his former business. He further testified that, after closing his business, he had rented the premises to Bennie Houston, who operated a car wash business at the site. Fields identified the checks as being two of those left behind when he vacated the premises. He denied signing the checks or authorizing anyone else to sign the checks on his behalf.

Houston testified that Hudson had been an employee in the car wash for a brief period of time and that Hudson had access during the work day to the office where the checkbook had been left. Houston testified that, although the office was not locked, he did not use the office as a part of his car wash operation during that period because the office remained littered with papers and records left behind by Fields. Houston denied even knowing that the checkbook was on the premises. Houston testified that, in the operation of his car wash business, he charged $10 to wash a car and paid $4 of that to the person who actually did the wash job. He said that he paid all his employees, including Hudson, strictly in cash and had never paid his workers by check.

Hudson elected to testify in his own defense. He denied any knowledge that the maker's signature on the two checks had been forged and claimed that Houston had given him the checks as payment for labor performed at the car wash.

On this conflicting evidence, the jury returned a verdict of guilty on both counts. Hudson filed a JNOV motion, which was denied by ...


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