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Green v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

June 25, 2019

RICKIE GREEN APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 11/09/2017

          COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: TUNICA COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT TRIAL JUDGE: HON. LINDA F. COLEMAN

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: PHILIP CAREY HEARN

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: BILLY L. GORE

          DISTRICT ATTORNEY: BRENDA FAY MITCHELL

          BEFORE WESTBROOKS, McDONALD AND McCARTY, JJ.

          WESTBROOKS, J.

         ¶1. Rickie Green appeals his conviction in the Tunica County Circuit Court for one count of fondling by an authority figure in violation of Mississippi Code Annotated section 97-5-23(2) (Rev. 2015). Green asserts that the trial court erred in denying his motion for a new trial. Green also asserts that the trial court failed to conduct an investigation into whether juror misconduct resulted in an unfair trial. We find no error and affirm.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2. On Thanksgiving Day 2015, D.D., [1] her parents Willie and Loran, and numerous other relatives were at Green's residence he shared with his wife, Shirley Isabell, and their children and grandchildren. Green gave D.D. and two of her younger cousins two rides on his four-wheeler to a spot some distance from the residence.

         ¶3. At trial, D.D. testified that during the second four-wheeler excursion, Green stopped to use the restroom by a pond. D.D. stated that when Green returned to the four wheeler, he stuck his hand down her pants into her underwear and touched her vagina. Upon returning from the second excursion, D.D. was seen walking back toward the house while the other children were still on the four wheeler. D.D. testified that she was crying and highly upset. She stated that she immediately told her father what Green had done to her, because he was standing outside when she arrived home.

         ¶4. A short time later, there was an altercation regarding the incident among Willie, Shirley, and Shirley's son, and the police were called to the Greens' home. Shirley testified that the altercation started after Willie took a swing at her; however, Willie testified that the altercation occurred after he tried to speak with Green regarding D.D.'s allegation of sexual abuse. Officer Victor Randle, formally with the Tunica County Sheriff's Office, responded to the disturbance. Officer Randle testified that when he arrived he encountered D.D. and her mother, Loran. D.D. informed Officer Randle that her uncle, Green, put his hands down her pants and touched her between her legs. Officer Randle stated that he collected clothes from Green's house to test them for evidence.

         ¶5. Detective John Logwood, an investigator with the Tunica County Sheriff's Office, took D.D. for her forensic interview with Meredith Rawl. Rawl, an expert in the field of forensic interviewing, testified that D.D. disclosed that Green touched her vagina while on the four wheeler. Rawl stated that based upon her interview with D.D., she believed that D.D.'s statements were consistent with a child who had been abused.

         ¶6. Green testified on his own behalf and claimed that he touched D.D., just not in the sexual manner that she maintained. Green stated that he grabbed D.D. right before hitting a speed bump to stop her from falling off. After he grabbed her, Green testified that D.D. stated "My momma said nobody touch me" and that D.D. started to cry.

         ¶7. Following a jury trial, [2] Green was convicted and sentenced to five years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, with three years suspended with supervised probation. Green was also ordered to register as a sex offender upon release. Green filed a motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV), and alternatively for a new trial.

         ¶8. At Green's hearing on his JNOV motion or motion for a new trial, one of his arguments was that one of the jurors on the jury panel failed to disclose pertinent information regarding her connection with the victim and witnesses in this case. The trial court denied ...


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