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Hernandez v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

November 26, 2013

PAUL HERNANDEZ A/K/A PAUL " TITO" HERNANDEZ A/K/A PAUL HENANDEZ JR., APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, APPELLEE

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: HARRISON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 09/20/2012. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. LISA P. DODSON. TRIAL COURT CONVICTED OF TWO COUNTS OF STATUTORY RAPE AND SENTENCED TO TWENTY YEARS FOR EACH COUNT, WITH TWENTY YEARS SUSPENDED AND FIVE YEARS OF PROBATION, WITH THE SENTENCES TO RUN CONSECUTIVELY, ALL IN THE CUSTODY OF THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS AND TO PAY A $5,000 FINE AND $300 TO THE CRIME VICTIMS' COMPENSATION FUND.

FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER, bye: GEORGE T. HOLMES.

FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, BY: W. GLENN WATTS.

BEFORE IRVING, P.J., ISHEE AND FAIR, JJ. LEE, C.J., IRVING AND GRIFFIS, P.JJ., BARNES, ROBERTS, CARLTON, MAXWELL, FAIR AND JAMES, JJ., CONCUR.

OPINION

Page 890

NATURE OF THE CASE: CRIMINAL - FELONY

ISHEE, J.:

¶1. On September 20, 2012, Paul Hernandez was convicted by a jury in the Harrison County Circuit Court of two counts of statutory rape. He was sentenced to twenty years on each count, with twenty years suspended and five years to serve on probation, all in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC). Hernandez filed a motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV) or, in the alternative, a new trial. The motion was denied. Aggrieved, Hernandez appeals.

STATEMENT OF FACTS

¶2. In February or March of 2007, Hernandez, his wife, Jennifer, and their children moved from New Mexico to Saucier, Mississippi. Initially, the Hernandez family moved into the home of Jennifer's father and stepmother, where they resided with Jennifer's half sister, S.H.[1] S.H., born on July 1, 1992, was fourteen years old at the time. Hernandez, born December 6, 1967, was thirty-eight years old.

¶3. Soon after the family's move, a relationship evolved between Hernandez and S.H. S.H. became infatuated with Hernandez and, according to her, they frequently conversed via text message, laid in bed together, and even kissed. In May 2007, the Hernandez family moved into a nearby camper, and S.H. began to visit them regularly. It was then, S.H. testified, that she and Hernandez " engaged in intercourse" for the first time.

¶4. During the summer of 2007, Hernandez moved with his wife to a larger trailer but continued his relationship with S.H. S.H. stated that she and Hernandez would engage in sexual activity whenever the opportunity presented itself. At times,

Page 891

the activity occurred while Jennifer was away at work, during the weekdays, on the weekends, or whenever others were not present. S.H. also maintained, though, that sexual intercourse even occurred in the presence of others while they were sleeping. S.H. stated ...


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