Lawrence v. WeberAnnotate this Case
Petitioner James Lawrence appealed the circuit court’s denial of his petition for habeas corpus, arguing that there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction and sentence for “theft by deception.” In 1996, Petitioner approached the victim four times over the course of several months, offering to perform home repairs that he said would be reimbursed under a federal government program. By the end, Petitioner had received over $5,000 for his “work.” Petitioner furnished invoices he claimed would be reimbursed and an “official” called the victim to arrange to inspect the work Petitioner had done. When the inspector never showed, the victim called the local branch of the government agency to follow up, and learned that the alleged reimbursement had ended several years earlier. In 2003, a jury found Petitioner guilty of theft by deception and sentenced him to twenty-five years’ imprisonment at the state penitentiary. The appellate court affirmed his conviction. In 2006, Petitioner sought the writ of habeas corpus, alleging among other things, that his constitutional rights had been violated because he was convicted on insufficient evidence. The circuit court denied his motion, and Petitioner brought his appeal to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court concluded that there was ample evidence from which the jury could draw its conclusion. The Court affirmed the lower courts’ decisions to dismiss Petitioner’s appeals.