Before Bridges, C.j., Hinkebein, And Payne, JJ.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Bridges, C.j., For The Court:
Jenkins, et al v. State, 96-KA-01248-COA
THIS OPINION IS NOT DESIGNATED FOR PUBLICATION AND MAY NOT BE CITED, PURSUANT TO M.R.A.P. 35-B
DATE OF JUDGMENT: 10/17/96
TRIAL JUDGE: HON. ELZY JONATHAN SMITH JR.
COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: QUITMAN COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT
NATURE OF THE CASE: CRIMINAL - FELONY
TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: FRAUDULENT STATEMENTS & REPRESENTATIONS: SENTENCED TO SERVE 5 YRS IN THE MDOC; 2 YRS SUSPENDED AFTER 3 YRS HAS BEEN SERVED IN THE MDOC & PAY $2,000
Glendora Jenkins and Wendell Woodard (a.k.a. "Henry Woodard, Jr.") were indicted, tried, and convicted of the crime of making a false representation with intent to defraud the State, in § violation of Miss. Code Ann. 97-7-10 (Rev. 1994), in the Quitman County Circuit Court. Glendora and Wendell were sentenced to serve a term of five years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections with sentence suspended after three years served, and fined $2,000. Aggrieved, Glendora and Wendell argue on appeal 1) that the court erred in denying the defendants' motions for a directed verdict, judgment notwithstanding the verdict, and a new trial; 2) that the State failed to prove the essential elements of the crime; 3) that the variance between the indictment and the jury instructions constituted reversible error and allowed the State to charge the separate crime of conspiracy; and 4) that the defendants were denied their constitutional right to effective assistance of counsel. Finding no merit to the issues raised, we affirm.
On or about January 28, 1994, Glendora executed a lease contract for five tracts of Parchman farmland totaling approximately 2,300 acres from the State of Mississippi through the Mississippi Department of Corrections. The State leases approximately 15,000 acres of State-owned farmland adjacent to Parchman annually through a bidding process to private individuals, and Jenkins was the successful bidder in 1994. Glendora's annual rent totaled $54,962.00 of which she paid ten percent and owed a remaining balance of $49,465.80. Glendora elected to finance the remaining balance and granted the State a first lien on any crops grown on the land.
Glendora hired her brother, Wendell, to manage the property. Since neither she nor her brother had the appropriate equipment, their father, Henry Woodard, Sr., was also hired. In addition, another brother, Zarlon Woodard, was hired to provide additional manpower. When it was discovered that Henry Woodard, Sr.'s equipment was not capable of harvesting the entire crop, a custom-combiner, Thomas Munn, Jr., was also hired. As the crop was harvested, it was taken to Farmers Grain Elevator in Lambert, Mississippi.
Initially, when Glendora requested to defer payment, she signed a form with the Secretary of State's office which gave the State a first lien on her crops. In an effort to protect buyers and sellers, these forms are published monthly listing all crop liens. The listing puts the grain elevator operator on notice that if he purchases the crops, all checks should be made payable to the lien creditor as well as the lien debtor. From December 1993 to December 1994, the following names appeared as lien debtors on the Secretary of State's listing: Glendora Jenkins, Wendell Woodard, Zarlon Woodard, and Henry Woodard, Sr.
According to testimony of Linda Coker and Frankie Hudson, employees of Farmers Grain Elevator, checks were issued to an individual who identified himself to them as "Henry Woodard, Jr." Farmers Grain consulted the current listing of lien debtors and discovered the names listed above as lien debtors. However, since the name "Henry Woodard, Jr." was not on the list, checks were issued to him and to other individuals at his request. Consequently, the remaining balance that was owed to the State was never paid.
Ultimately, Glendora Jenkins, Wendell Woodard (a.k.a. Henry Woodard, Jr.), Zarlon Woodard, and Henry Woodard, Sr. were all indicted for the crime of making a false § representation with intent to defraud the State, in violation of Miss. Code Ann. 97-7-10 (Rev. 1994). On September 17, 1996, Glendora and Wendell were found guilty as charged. Both were sentenced to serve a term of five years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections with two years suspended after serving three years and fined $2,000.
ARGUMENT AND DISCUSSION OF LAW
I. WHETHER THE COURT ERRED IN DENYING THE DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS FOR A DIRECTED VERDICT, A JUDGMENT NOTWITHSTANDING THE VERDICT, AND A NEW TRIAL BECAUSE THE VERDICT WAS AGAINST THE OVERWHELMING WEIGHT OF THE ...