547 F.2d 269 (5th Cir. 1977), 76-2122, Woods v. Estelle

Docket Nº:76-2122.
Citation:547 F.2d 269
Party Name:Hollis Earl WOODS, Petitioner-Appellee, v. W. J. ESTELLE, Jr., Director, Texas Department of Corrections, Respondent-Appellant.
Case Date:February 18, 1977
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

Page 269

547 F.2d 269 (5th Cir. 1977)

Hollis Earl WOODS, Petitioner-Appellee,


W. J. ESTELLE, Jr., Director, Texas Department of

Corrections, Respondent-Appellant.

No. 76-2122.

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

February 18, 1977

Page 270

John L. Hill, Atty. Gen., David M. Kendall, 1st Asst. Atty. Gen., Joe B. Dibrell, Jack B. Boone, Asst. Attys. Gen., Austin, Tex., for respondent-appellant.

Hollis Earl Woods, pro se.

Judy M. Johnson (Court appointed), Houston, Tex., for petitioner-appellee.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

Before BROWN, Chief Judge, GODBOLD, Circuit Judge, and MEHRTENS, [*] District Judge.


Hollis Earl Woods was sentenced to life imprisonment following his conviction in Texas state court for robbery. He filed a petition for habeas corpus which was granted by the federal District Court. We reverse.

The lower court's grant of habeas was based on the admission of certain extraneous evidence which it held to be highly prejudicial. The testimony at trial revealed the following sequence of events. On June 16, 1970, Henry Tutt, the complaining witness, was robbed in his apartment. He identified the defendant as one of three robbers, two men and one woman. Tutt testified that Woods and the others entered his apartment while he was lying down. Woods jumped on top of him and held him. Woods was armed with a hook-bill knife, the kind used for roofing. The male accomplice stabbed Tutt three times while Woods held him. Meanwhile, the female took his wallet, his pistol and a wristwatch. When he called for help Woods threatened to kill him if he didn't shut up. Tutt testified that as they were making their exit Woods cut him on the throat with the knife.

The testimony which was ruled prejudicial was that given by Leo McWilliams. McWilliams testified that just a few hours after the Tutt robbery he was robbed by the same trio. The second robbery occurred in the same geographical area as the earlier one. The three robbers drove up next to McWilliams at a service station. The female asked McWilliams to go for a drink with her. He testified that after he drove to the agreed area she got out of her car and got into his. She then pulled a pistol from her purse and shot him through the jaw. About that time Woods came up from behind and stabbed him with a knife...

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