Oral arg. – Miss.S.Ct. – April 9, 2015

At 10:00 on Thursday, April 9, 2015, the Miss.S.Ct will hear the case of Vance Drummer v. State.  It’s on cert. and involves the propriety of a flight instruction as well as the issue of whether an offense qualifies as a prior for purposes of  a habitual sentence when the prior was committed at the same time as the offenses which are being enhanced.

Drummer was found guilty of two counts of grand larceny and one count of attempted grand larceny.

Law enforcement attempted to stop Drummer when he ran a four-way stop. A chase ensued. When Drummer was caught, it was determined that the van, trailer and John Deere lawnmower he had been hauling were stolen from a Columbus business. It turned out that the place where the van had been stolen from had a truck that sustained damage from someone trying to steal it.

At trial, the prosecution produced for the first time photos of the damage done to the truck as well as to a gate on the property where the van had been stolen from and the truck tampered with. Drummer’s attorney was given a chance to look at the photos. He moved to exclude them but did not ask for a continuance or mistrial. On appeal, Drummer argues that the jury should not have been given a flight instruction, the discovery violation,sufficiency of the evidence, and his conviction as a habitual offender. This last has to do with Drummer arguing that while he was convicted of separate offenses, the felony flight conviction he acquired in fleeing from law enforcement in this case was so intertwined with the convictions in this case, that the court should not have considered it as a separate predicate offense for the purpose of finding him an habitual. The Court of Appeals finds no issues of merit.

COA opinion.

Drummer’s cert. pet. raises the issues of the flight instruction and the habitual sentence.

State’s brief on cert.

Watch the argument here. 

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