COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: ATTALA COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 03/06/2013. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. JOSEPH H. LOPER JR. TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: MOTION FOR POST-CONVICTION RELIEF DENIED.
FOR APPELLANT: M. JUDITH BARNETT.
FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, BY: STEPHANIE BRELAND WOOD.
BEFORE GRIFFIS, P.J., MAXWELL AND FAIR, JJ. LEE, C.J., IRVING AND GRIFFIS, P.JJ., BARNES, ISHEE, ROBERTS, CARLTON, MAXWELL AND JAMES, JJ., CONCUR.
NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - POST-CONVICTION RELIEF
¶1. Jeffrey Holman was convicted of armed robbery in 2008. His conviction was affirmed on appeal. The Mississippi Supreme Court granted Holman permission to seek post-conviction relief in the trial court, which he did, contending that his trial counsel had colluded with the attorney for one of his accusers. After an evidentiary hearing, the trial court found Holman's claims factually baseless and denied his PCR petition. We find that the trial court acted within its discretion in resolving conflicting testimony and that its decision is supported by substantial evidence. We affirm.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
¶2. When reviewing the denial of a PCR motion, an appellate court " will not disturb the trial court's factual findings unless they are found to be clearly erroneous." Callins v. State, 975 So.2d 219, 222 (¶ 8) (Miss. 2008).
¶3. Holman was convicted on the theory that he assisted another man, George Dotson Jr., in robbing a convenience store. Holman's defense was Dotson had forced him to help with the robbery. Dotson pled guilty shortly before Holman's trial.
¶4. Holman's attorney at trial was Richard Carter III. Carter was a part-time public defender, and Holman's was the first felony case he had tried. Rosalind Jordan was the other part-time public defender in Attala County; she was more experienced. Jordan represented Dotson, who testified against Holman in the latter's trial. Holman alleged in his PCR motion that Jordan assisted Carter in the trial and that Carter had relied on her advice, to Holman's detriment. Holman contended that both Dotson and Jordan had it in for him; allegedly, Dotson had called Holman a snitch and delighted in his prosecution, and a witness claimed to have overheard Jordan say she wanted to see Holman convicted.
¶5. At the evidentiary hearing on Holman's PCR motion, Carter testified that he did not remember speaking to Jordan ...