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Williams v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

May 16, 2017

KEVIN LEIGH WILLIAMS A/K/A KEVIN WILLIAMS APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 05/09/2016

         COPIAH COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. LAMAR PICKARD, TRIAL JUDGE

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: ROBERT FRED LINGOLD JR. HADLEY ELIZABETH GABLE

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, WILSON DOUGLAS MINOR

          BEFORE IRVING, P.J., FAIR AND WILSON, JJ.

          FAIR, J.

         ¶1. In 2013, Kevin Williams was found guilty of failing to register as a sex offender. This Court later reversed his conviction based on an insufficient indictment. See Williams v. State, 169 So.3d 932, 933 (¶1) (Miss. Ct. App. 2014). Williams then requested compensation under the Mississippi Wrongful Conviction Act. See Miss. Code Ann. §§ 11-44-1 to -15 (Rev. 2012). At the close of trial, the circuit court held that Williams had failed to meet the statute's requirements and ruled in favor of the State. Finding no error, we affirm.

         FACTS

         ¶2. On August 1, 2008, Williams was indicted for sexual battery of a fourteen-year-old female child by a Hinds County grand jury. He pled guilty to one count of sexual battery and was sentenced to serve twenty years, with nineteen years and three months suspended. As a result of his guilty plea, Williams was required to register as a sex offender with the Mississippi Department of Public Safety. See Miss. Code Ann. § 45-33-25 (Rev. 2015). When Williams registered, he listed an address in Crystal Springs, Mississippi, as his primary residential address. Officer Greg Farrell was assigned as Williams's probation officer.

         ¶3. On September 10, 2012, Officer Farrell went to the address provided. Williams, 169 So.3d at 934 (¶4). Williams was not there. Id. Following his visit, Officer Farrell completed a violation report, forwarded it to Williams's county of conviction, and notified Copiah County Sheriff's Department Investigator Tommy Roberts. Id.

         ¶4. Investigator Roberts went to the address to determine whether Williams was living there and whether he was in violation of his registration duties as a convicted sex offender. Id. at (¶5). He spoke with Williams's brother, Chris, who said that Williams did not live there. Id. Investigator Roberts testified that he first went to the home on September 4, 2012, and again on September 18, 2012.[1] Id.

         ¶5. On September 18, 2012, Williams was arrested for failure to register as a sex offender. He was detained in the Copiah County Detention Center on December 26, 2012, and convicted on March 12, 2013. This Court reversed his conviction in July 2014, and Williams was released a few weeks later.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         ¶6. "A circuit court judge sitting without a jury is afforded the same deference as a chancellor." City of Jackson v. Lewis, 153 So.3d 689, 693 (¶4) (Miss. 2014) (quoting City of Jackson v. Sandifer, 107 So.3d 978, 983 (¶16) (Miss. 2013)). An appellate court will not disturb "a circuit court's findings following a bench trial unless the findings 'are manifestly wrong [or] clearly erroneous, or an erroneous legal standard was applied.'" Id. (quoting Sandifer, 107 So.3d at 983 (ΒΆ16)). Further, those "findings 'are safe on appeal where they are supported by ...


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