Sunday, November 17, 2013

Woods v. State case brief

Woods v. State case brief summary
191 So. 283 (1939)


CASE SYNOPSIS
Defendant challenged the judgment of conviction for the crime of burglary of a dwelling house that was entered by the Circuit Court of Prentiss County (Mississippi).

CASE FACTS
The evidence showed that the building in question, although intended for a dwelling house, had only recently been erected, and had not yet been occupied as a dwelling at the time of the crime. Relying on a prior decision, defendant argued on appeal that this evidence could not have supported a conviction for burglary of a dwelling house. The state argued, however, that defendant did not preserve the argument because he failed to raise it before the trial court.

DISCUSSION

  • The court ruled that the argument was properly preserved because defendant requested and was refused a peremptory instruction on the issue. 
  • The court found that the request for a peremptory instruction took the place of a demurrer to the evidence. 
  • The court further ruled that the indictment could not have been amended to change the charge from burglary of a dwelling house to burglary of an unoccupied house. 
  • The court concluded that the two crimes were separate and distinct.

CONCLUSION
The court reversed the trial court's judgment of conviction for burglary of a dwelling house, and remanded the matter to the trial court.

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