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Worth v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

July 25, 2017

ROBERT ALLEN WORTH A/K/A ROBERT A. WORTH A/K/A BOB WORTH APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 01/21/2016

         HARRISON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, SECOND JUDICIAL DISTRICT HON. CHRISTOPHER LOUIS SCHMIDT, Judge

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: ROBERT ALLEN WORTH (PRO SE)

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: ALICIA AINSWORTH

          BEFORE GRIFFIS, P.J., WILSON AND WESTBROOKS, JJ.

          WILSON, J.

         ¶1. Robert Allen Worth pled guilty to exploitation of a child and was sentenced to fifteen years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC), with five years suspended, ten years to serve, and five years of post-release supervision.

         ¶2. Worth subsequently filed a petition for post-conviction relief (PCR), claiming (1) that he received ineffective assistance of counsel, which led to an involuntary plea; (2) that his sexually explicit emails, in which he sought to arrange a sexual encounter with a thirteen-year-old girl, were protected speech under the First Amendment; (3) that the prosecutor and his attorney both engaged in "misconduct"; and (4) that because no Viagra pills were found in his possession at the time of his arrest, he lacked the ability and/or the intent to have sexual intercourse "with anyone much less a minor." The circuit court denied Worth's PCR petition as meritless, and we affirm.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶3. On March 8, 2012, Sergeant Donnie Dobbs of the Biloxi Police Department signed on to a chatroom on America Online (AOL) named "ShareHerNMississippi13" to monitor for sexual predators. Sergeant Dobbs used the screen name "DnS4young1313" and represented himself as "Denise, " a thirty-five-year-old single mother who lived in Biloxi and had a thirteen-year-old daughter named "Brandi." Sergeant Dobbs soon received an instant message from someone using the screen name "ActivetongueLINY, " who said that his name was Bob and that he lived in New York. Sergeant Dobbs initially ignored Bob's messages since Bob did not live near Mississippi, but Bob persisted in messaging "Denise." Bob told "Denise" that he was familiar with the Biloxi area because he had trained at Keesler Air Force Base and that he would be going back to the base in April 2012.

         ¶4. Bob's initial message to "Denise" indicated that he wanted to have sex with her thirteen-year-old daughter "Brandi." This led to numerous vulgar, disturbing, and sexually explicit emails between March 8, 2012, and April 20, 2012, in which Bob expressed his desire to have sex with "Brandi" and made plans to meet "Denise" and "Brandi" in order to have sex with "Brandi."

         ¶5. To prove that he was serious about meeting "Denise, " Bob provided his telephone number. Sergeant Dobbs asked a female detective to pose as "Denise" on a telephone call to Bob. On March 25, the female detective, posing as "Denise, " called the number Bob provided and made contact with him. He continued to express his desire to travel to Biloxi to meet and have sex with "Brandi." After the phone call, Sergeant Dobbs continued to email Bob in order to make plans for him to come to Biloxi.

         ¶6. Sergeant Dobbs also used the telephone number to identify Bob as Robert Allen Worth of Indianapolis, Indiana. The identification was supported by information included in Bob's emails, including his request that "Denise" and "Brandi" travel to Indianapolis to visit him. Finally, by email, "Denise" asked Bob for his last name, and Bob said that his last name was Worth.

         ¶7. On March 28, 2012, Worth told "Denise" that he had purchased a digital camera to take pictures of "Brandi" and a GPS to help him travel to Biloxi. He also told "Denise" that he would bring vibrators, lubricant, and condoms for his planned intercourse with "Brandi." Worth and "Denise" later arranged to meet at the Biloxi Lighthouse ...


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