Sunday, November 17, 2013

Woods v. State case brief

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

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).

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.


  • 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.

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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