Decisions – COA – Nov. 17, 2015

Willie B. Taylor v. State –  receiving stolen goods – Taylor was convicted of receiving stolen goods after he was found driving a stolen pick up.  On appeal he argues that the court erred in admitting a photo showing damage to the truck when he sustained an objection to the photo but then allowed it in anyway because it had already been shown to the jury.  The error was harmless, however.  He also challenges the sufficiency of the evidence.  The COA affirms.

Justin Springer v. State  – ineffective assistance –  Springer was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to LWOP in 2011.  On direct appeal his conviction was affirmed. He then  filed an application for leave to proceed in the trial court to file a motion for post-conviction relief that was granted as to his claims that his counsel was ineffective in failing to request a  speedy trial, and whether his appellate counsel was ineffective for not raising his trial counsel’s ineffectiveness on appeal.  The trial court found against Springer and the COA affirms,

Ashendrias Reed v. Stateprior sentence of one year as basis for habitual sentence – Reed stole a car that had a GPS tracking system.  On appeal he argues that he was erroneously sentenced as an habitual because one of his priors does not reflect that he was sentenced to a year or more.  Instead he was sentenced to RID. First of all, he did not raise it below.

Notwithstanding the procedural bar, we find no merit to Reed’s argument. The trial court’s revocation order clearly referred back to the original nonadjudication order when it stated that Reed would “return” to “post-release supervision.” The nonadjudication order specified a supervision period of one year. Although it is not clear how much supervision time Reed had remaining at the time the sentence was imposed, that is immaterial; when it is credited to the sentence, time served prior to the conviction is counted in determining whether a sentence was for more than one year for the purposes of the habitual offender statutes. See Feazell v. State, 761 So. 2d 140, 141-43 (¶¶7-11, 14) (Miss. 2000). Moreover, for section 99-19-81, it is the length of the sentence that controls, not how much of it is actually served. See Jackson v. State, 381 So. 2d 1040, 1042 (Miss. 1980).

Sabrina Welton v. Daniel Westmoreland modification of custody –  The Westmorelands had been married and had a daughter Alexice.  Sabrina also had a 12-year-daughter Justice  who Daniel raised as his own.  Daniel filed for a modification of custody of both children which the chancellor granted based on  Sabrina’s  unilateral and “very hurtful” decision to tell Justice that Daniel was not her real father.  The COA affirms.

Dequan Berry v. State comment on right to remain silent –  Berry was convicted of two counts of armed robbery after he held up two people at the Woodlands Apartments in Jackson.  Since Berry used to live there, his victims recognized him.  Berry testified that at the time of the robbery, he was playing cards.  He argues that he was entitled to a mistrial when the prosecution argued  “Well, Ms. Aaron and Ms. Washington, they testify, “Look, well, we were playing cards.” Well, [Berry] obviously said that after he was arrested . . ”  Berry claims this was a comment on his right to remain silent. The COA finds no error.  “Berry’s right to remain silent was not at issue because he had waived that right and had voluntarily given a statement, which had been admitted into evidence without objection from Berry. In addition, Berry took the stand and testified in his own defense.”  He also argues that the state should not have been allowed to cross-examine his grandmother (his alibi witness) about Berry’s living arrangements and the stuff the grandmother did to help Berry’s mother with her six kids.  The COA finds the cross-examination was to show that the grandmother had a hard time remembering and was not error.

Gregory Mastin v. Statedisorderly conduct –  Mastin  was charged with driving on an expired driver’s license, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest in  Lowndes County.   He pleaded guilty to having an expired driver’s license but plead not guilty to the remaining charges.  He was found guilty of the other charges and appealed from justice to county and from county to circuit to no avail even though the state couldn’t be bothered with filing a brief in circuit court until ordered to do so.

Mastin had been stopped at a driver’s license checkpoint where it was discovered his Alabama license had expired a couple of months prior. The cops claimed that Mastin refused to take the ticket and cursed.  Eventually he was tased and taken to jail.  Mastin argues that his conviction must be reversed because he did not use fighting words.   The COA notes that the officers testified that they did not feel threatened by Maston’s language and, thus, he was not guilty of disorderly conduct simply based on his language.  And since that conviction cannot stand, nor can his resisting arrest conviction stand.

Rodney Williams v. Courtney Williams –  dividing the marital estate – Courtney was granted a divorce on cruel and inhumane treatment.  Rodney filed a pro se appeal.  The COA affirms the divorce but “because we find that the chancellor erred in failing to classify certain debts that allegedly were incurred during the course of the marriage, we reverse and remand on this issue, which necessarily requires new consideration of the distribution of the marital estate. Also, we pretermit discussion of the issue of alimony, as it is not ripe for consideration until after the marital estate has been properly identified, valuated, and distributed.”

Lynda Robinette v. State  – DUI – In August 2012,  Robinette pleaded no contest in Ridgeland Municipal Court to driving under the influence, first offense, running a stop sign, and following too closely.  She appealed to County Court and was found guilty.  On appeal to Circuit Court, her convictions were affirmed. Robinette  appeals and claims that the evidence was insufficient to find her guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The COA finds that she is procedurally barred from raising these issues because she did not review her motion for a directed verdict after she finished putting on her evidence.

Pro se PCR appeals affirmed 

Gerry Jackson v. State

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