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Bozeman v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

January 17, 2017

JASON BOZEMAN A/K/A JASON BOZMAN APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 05/09/2014

         TUNICA COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. CHARLES E. WEBSTER TRIAL JUDGE

         AFFIRMED

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY: BENJAMIN ALLEN SUBER.

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: JEFFREY A. KLINGFUSS.

          DISTRICT ATTORNEY: BRENDA FAY MITCHELL.

          BEFORE GRIFFIS, P.J., BARNES AND CARLTON, JJ.

          BARNES, J.

         ¶1. On December 15, 2012, eight-year-old M.W. was spending the weekend with her grandmother, S.C.[1] The child informed S.C. that Jason Bozeman, her uncle, had inappropriately touched her on several occasions in the past few months.[2] Bozeman, who was in his thirties, lived in a camper on the same property where M.W. and her parents resided. S.C. immediately informed the child's parents, who contacted the Tunica County Sheriff's Department. A forensic interview with the child took place January 24, 2013; no physical examination of the child was conducted.

         ¶2. Bozeman was indicted for one count of fondling and two counts of sexual battery in violation of Mississippi Code Annotated sections 97-5-23 and 97-3-95 (Rev. 2006). During the jury trial, M.W. testified that Bozeman had touched her with his hands and his "private parts." Based on the details provided to her by the child, the forensic interviewer testified that her "findings were consistent with that of a child that had been sexually abused."

         ¶3. Bozeman was convicted of count one, fondling, and sentenced to twelve years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, with eight years to serve and four years suspended, with the sentence to run consecutively to any sentences previously imposed. He was found not guilty of the other two counts of sexual battery, and those charges were dismissed. Bozeman filed a motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict, or in the alternative, for a new trial, which the circuit court denied. Finding no error, we affirm Bozeman's conviction and sentence.

         DISCUSSION

         ¶4. Bozeman's sole argument on appeal is that, due to the State's failure to provide any physical evidence that he touched the child inappropriately, the verdict is against the overwhelming weight of the evidence. He notes there was no medical examination of M.W. conducted to determine if the child had been molested. Therefore, Bozeman contends he is entitled to a new trial.

         ¶5. "[M]atters regarding the weight of the evidence are within the province of the jury." Jackson v. State, 154 So.3d 58, 62 (¶18) (Miss. Ct. App. 2014) (citing Stegall v. State,765 So.2d 606, 610 (¶10) (Miss. Ct. App. 2000)). "A jury's verdict will not be disturbed unless 'it is so contrary to the overwhelming weight of the evidence that to allow it to stand would sanction an unconscionable injustice.'" Hernandez v. State, 137 So.3d 889, 893 (¶18) (Miss. Ct. App. 2013) (quoting Bush v. State, 895 So.2d 836, 844 (ΒΆ18) ...


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