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Williams v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

June 10, 2014

ANTHONY DONNELL WILLIAMS A/K/A ANTHONY WILLIAMS A/K/A ANTHONY D. WILLIAMS, APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, APPELLEE

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 06/30/2009.

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: ADAMS COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. FORREST A. JOHNSON JR. TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: DISMISSED MOTION FOR POST-CONVICTION RELIEF.

FOR APPELLANT: ANTHONY DONNELL WILLIAMS (Pro se).

FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, BY: LAURA HOGAN TEDDER.

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

OPINION

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - POST-CONVICTION RELIEF

Page 350

CARLTON, J.

¶1. This appeal stems from the Adams County Circuit Court's summary dismissal of Anthony Williams's motion for post-conviction relief (PCR). Finding no error, we affirm.

FACTS

¶2. On November 17, 2006, an Adams County grand jury indicted Williams in a four-count indictment for the following: one count of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer; one count of felony fleeing from law enforcement; one count of possession of a weapon by a convicted felon; and one count of receiving stolen property. Williams entered into a plea agreement with the State wherein Williams pled guilty to one count of the indictment for the offense of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, and the three remaining felony charges were dismissed, as well as a charge of sale of cocaine, which had been charged in a separate indictment. Williams pled guilty on July 13, 2007, and the trial court sentenced Williams to serve thirty years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC).

¶3. On June 23, 2009, Williams filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, which the trial court treated a PCR motion, asserting that the wording of his indictment " was surplus" to the statute under which he was indicted. The bottom of Williams's indictment sets forth the relevant statutes for the charges therein. A review of the indictment also shows this listing follows the signature of the grand-jury foreman. The indictment sets forth the elements of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer in the text of count I. However, the indictment identifies the supporting statute for count I as Mississippi Code Annotated section 93-3-7 (Rev. 2013), rather than Mississippi Code Annotated section 97-3-7 (Rev. 2006). Williams claimed that he read the indictment as legally charging him with a noncriminal offense, domestic contract violation, since the indictment identified section 93-3-7 as the supporting statute for the charge, and as a result, the trial judge incorrectly sentenced him to prison time.

¶4. On June 30, 2009, the trial court entered an order dismissing Williams's PCR motion. The trial court stated that " it is true that the statute number at the end of the indictment in this cause is [section 93-3-7,] which should have been [section 97-3-7]." However, the trial court explained that the Mississippi Supreme Court has held that " when dealing with indictments, . . . we employ a rule of substance over form." The trial court cited Wright v. State, 958 So.2d 158 (Miss. 2007), wherein the supreme court stated that " although a typographical error existed concerning the subsection number, the substance of the indictment read that Wright was charged with forcible rape." As a result, the trial court determined that the body of the indictment herein correctly charged Williams with aggravated assault on a police officer. The trial court further acknowledged that Williams's sentencing order correctly and lawfully sentenced Williams to the correct term of imprisonment under section 97-3-7.

¶5. On March 27, 2013, the Mississippi Supreme Court entered an order granting Williams's request to file an out-of-time appeal ...


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