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Woods v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

February 25, 2014

ARTHUR WOODS, APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, APPELLEE

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: LEFLORE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 08/30/2011. TRIAL JUDGE: HON.W. ASHLEY HINES. TRIAL COURT DENIED MOTION FOR POST-CONVICTION RELIEF.

DISPOSITION: AFFIRMED.

FOR APPELLANT: ARTHUR WOODS (Pro se).

FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, BY: STEPHANIE BRELAND WOOD.

BEFORE IRVING, P.J., CARLTON AND MAXWELL, JJ. LEE, C.J., IRVING AND GRIFFIS, P.JJ., ISHEE, ROBERTS, CARLTON, FAIR AND JAMES, JJ., CONCUR. BARNES, J., CONCURS IN PART AND IN THE RESULT WITHOUT SEPARATE WRITTEN OPINION.

OPINION

Page 15

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - POST-CONVICTION RELIEF

MAXWELL, J.

¶1. " The fact that a witness changes his testimony after the trial does not necessarily entitle the [post-conviction-relief (PCR)] petitioner to a new trial." [1] It does, however, entitle him to an evidentiary hearing. After this hearing, if the trial judge " is not satisfied that such [changed] testimony is true," then it is his " right and duty . . . to deny a new trial." [2]

¶2. Arthur Woods was granted an evidentiary hearing on his successive PCR motion because the statutory-rape victim filled out an affidavit in which she recanted her trial testimony. But at this hearing, the judge--who had also presided over Woods's trial--found both the victim's affidavit and her testimony at the hearing were not credible, while her testimony at Woods's trial had been credible. Because the judge was not satisfied that the recanting testimony was true, he denied Woods's request for a new trial. After review, we cannot say the judge's determination was clearly erroneous. Thus, we affirm.

Background

¶3. In 2003, two eighth-grade girls were passing a note back and forth in science class. Their teacher intercepted the note. And when the teacher read the girls' exchange about both having had sex with the same grown man, the teacher immediately showed the note to one of the girls' mother, who worked at the school.[3] The ensuing investigation led to charging fifty-one-year-old Woods with two counts of statutory rape involving then fifteen-year-old Amy and fourteen-year-old Katrina.[4] See Miss. Code Ann. 97-3-65(1)(a)(i) (Supp. 2013).[5]

¶4. At trial, Katrina testified she and Amy had snuck out of Katrina's house one night and gone to Woods's. Both girls went back to Woods's bedroom, and Woods had sex with each girl twice. Katrina also testified that she loved Woods and did not ...


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