JUSTIN HARRIS A/K/A JUSTIN CHANCE HARRIS A/K/A JUSTIN C. HARRIS APPELLANT
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE
OF JUDGMENT: 09/13/2018
COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. M. JAMES CHANEY JR.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY:
ERIN E. BRIGGS
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY:
ABBIE EASON KOONCE
DISTRICT ATTORNEY: RICHARD EARL SMITH JR.
J. WILSON, P.J., WESTBROOKS AND LAWRENCE, JJ.
A Warren County Grand Jury indicted Justin Harris on three
counts of sexual battery of a child under the age of fourteen
and one count of statutory rape of a child under the age of
fourteen. On September 13, 2018, Harris was found guilty of
all three counts of sexual battery. Harris now appeals his
conviction and claims that the indictment was inadequate and
failed to protect him from double jeopardy in a future
prosecution. We find no error and affirm.
On November 16, 2017, seven year old H.B. was on the
playground at South Park Elementary School in Vicksburg,
Mississippi. Jerenisha Thomas, a student-teacher in
H.B.'s first grade class, asked if she was alright. H.B.
disclosed that her "stepdad puts his private part in
[her] private part," and that she "[did not] like
it when he [did] that." Thomas testified that when she
asked H.B. what she meant, H.B. "described [her
step-father] spitting on his fingers and putting it on his
private part and then putting it inside her, saying that that
was going to make it feel better, and he told her 'I do
the same thing with your mom, and she likes it.'"
Thomas immediately escorted H.B. to the front office to
report her statements.
Harris was indicted by the Grand Jury on January 25, 2018.
Count I, entitled "Sexual Battery, Victim Under Age
14," of his indictment read as follows:
[Justin Chance Harris] on or about October 2017 through
November 2017, in the County aforesaid, and within the
jurisdiction of this Court, did willfully, unlawfully[, ] and
feloniously engage in sexual penetration with a child H.B.
who was under the age of 14 years, whose date of birth was
October 7, 2010 and who was twenty-four (24) or more months
younger than said defendant whose date of birth was February
4, 1991 at the time, in violation of Mississippi Code
[Annotated section] 97-3-95 (1)(d) [(Rev. 2014)], contrary to
the statute in such cases made and provided, and against the
peace and dignity of the State of Mississippi.
II and Count III of Harris's indictment were identical to
Count I in title and content.
filed a demurrer to the indictment, claiming "the
language of the indictment fail[ed] to properly define the
manner in which the Defendant allegedly sexually penetrated
the victim thereby giving him sufficient notice as to the
basis of the charges against him." The trial court