Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Mississippi

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This appeal arose from the Hinds County, Mississippi Circuit Court’s order granting in part Richard Chapman’s motion for post-conviction relief (PCR), following the Mississippi Supreme Court’s mandate in Chapman v. Mississippi, 167 So. 3d 1170 (Miss. 2015) (Chapman IV). In a five-to-four decision, a majority of the Court found that no direct appeal was taken from Chapman’s 1982 conviction for rape and life sentence, and ordered the trial court to conduct an evidentiary hearing to determine if the record and transcript from the jury trial still existed, and if not, whether something equivalent could be reconstructed. The parties reconstructed much of the record on remand, and the trial court granted Chapman leave to file an out-of-time appeal from his 1982 rape conviction and life sentence. Chapman appealed that ruling, claiming: (1) the record was less than adequate to allow an acceptable appeal to be prepared. Chapman maintains his trial counsel was constitutionally deficient for failing to file an appeal, or even a notice of appeal, even though Chapman claimed he paid counsel to do so; and (2) a life sentence imposed on a sixteen-year-old for a crime that was not a homicide constituted cruel and unusual punishment. Chapman argued his 1982 rape conviction should be reversed and the case dismissed or, in the alternative, remanded for a new trial. Having reviewed the reconstructed record, the Supreme Court found Chapman was not entitled to an out-of-time appeal. The Court confirmed: (1) Chapman’s trial record was not destroyed, as Chapman claimed throughout his multiple PCR petitions; and (2) Chapman had three years from April 17, 1984, when Mississippi’s Uniform Post-Conviction Collateral Relief Act (UPCCRA) went into effect, to petition for an out-of-time appeal but failed to do so. View "Richard Chapman v. State of Mississippi" on Justia Law

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Rickie Omar Smith was indicted on one count of armed robbery and one count of burglary of a dwelling. The jury found Smith guilty on both counts, and the circuit court sentenced Smith to thirty years for armed robbery and twenty-five years for burglary of a dwelling, with the sentences to run concurrently. Following the denial of Smith’s post trial motions, he appealed, arguing that the evidence was insufficient to sustain the jury’s verdict for armed robbery. Because the evidence was sufficient to sustain the jury’s verdict for armed robbery, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed. View "Smith v. Mississippi" on Justia Law

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In 2013, Abdur Ambrose ("Ambrose"), Stevie Ambrose, and Orlander Dedeaux were indicted for capital murder of Robert Trosclair with the underlying felony being kidnapping. Ambrose alleged Trosclair had "stolen stuff our of his car." and confronted him late in the afternoon. Trosclair was later found tied up with a yellow ratchet strap, tightly tied around his wrists and loosely tired around his back, his head as “very dirty, covered in dirt, black and blue, blood,” Trosclair’s ears had blood coming out of them, stab wounds, cuts, and scrapes to his body. Trosclair was heliported to a hospital where he was unresponsive upon arrival, and diagnosed as clinically brain dead. The trial court severed the case for separate trials. A jury found Ambrose guilty of capital murder, for which he received the death sentence. Ambrose appealed, raising following twelve alleged issues with the trial court's proceedings. A divided Mississippi Supreme Court majority concluded after a review of the the record and after considering all of the aggravating and mitigating circumstances presented at trial, the evidence was sufficient to support the verdict and the death penalty was not disproportionate or excessive. View "Ambrose v. Mississippi" on Justia Law

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Jason Miles appealed after a jury found him guilty of grand larceny. On appeal, he argued the evidence was insufficient to support the jury verdict, and the trial court erred in denying a continuance. Finding no error, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed Miles' conviction. View "Miles v. Mississippi" on Justia Law

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Dexter Powell was convicted by jury of aggravated assault and felon in possession of a firearm. He appealed, claiming: (1) ineffective assistance of counsel; and (2) insufficient evidence in support of the verdicts, both of which also were against the overwhelming weight of the evidence. Finding no reversible error, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s judgment of convictions. View "Powell v. Mississippi" on Justia Law

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A jury found Andre Thomas guilty of one count of felony shoplifting. Thomas and an accomplice went to the electronics section of a Sam's Club in Gulfport, Mississippi at around 8:00 P.M. in 2015. A Sam’s Club employee was working at the store’s exit door on the night in question and was tasked with checking customers’ receipts as they left the store. As Thomas and the accomplice approached the employee, the accomplice stepped away from the store’s exit and feigned a heart attack. The employee came to the accomplice's aid, which allowed Thomas to exit the store without paying for three 60-inch 3D "smart" televisions, each valued at over $2,500. The accomplice was taken to the hospital but released on the same night. A few weeks later, he was arrested and charged with felony shoplifting. The accomplice admitted Thomas had helped him steal the televisions, and he identified Thomas from a six-person photographic lineup. Thomas' appellate counsel filed a "Lindsey" brief, asserting he could not identify any issues warranting appellate review. Thomas filed a pro se supplemental brief, challenging his sentence. Finding Thomas’s arguments to be without merit, and finding no other arguable issues in the record, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed Thomas’s conviction and sentence. View "Thomas v. Mississippi" on Justia Law

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After a jury trial, Henry Earl Harvey was convicted of first-degree murder for the 2015 shooting death of Eddie Briggs. Harvey was sentenced to life imprisonment. Harvey filed a Motion for New Trial and for Acquittal Notwithstanding the Verdict, which was denied. Harvey's counsel filed a "Lindsey" brief, stating he “diligently searched the procedural and factual history of this criminal action and scoured the record,” finding no arguable issues for appeal. Harvey was given additional time to file a pro se brief; however, he did not do so. The Mississippi Supreme Court found the record contained "more than sufficient proof" to establish that Harvey shot and killed Eddie Briggs within the meaning of the applicable statute, and as such, affirmed his conviction and sentence. View "Harvey v. Mississippi" on Justia Law

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David Thomas admitted in oral and written statements to police that he and Jontez Garvis had attacked Fred Jackson and stole cash from him. After being hospitalized for forty-one days due to the injuries inflicted by the two men, Jackson died. Thomas was indicted for and convicted of capital murder. The trial court sentenced Thomas to life in prison without parole. After review, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed Thomas’s conviction and sentence. View "Thomas v. Mississippi" on Justia Law

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Rickey Portis was convicted of two counts of sexual battery based on allegations that he repeatedly abused his then eight- and nine-year-old stepdaughters. The trial court sentenced him to two life sentences, to run consecutively. Portis appealed, arguing that the trial court erred by: (1) refusing to grant a continuance; and (2) in failing to allow him to introduce a prior inconsistent statement of a prosecution witness. Furthermore, Portis argued: (3) the verdict was not supported by sufficient evidence; (4) the verdict was against the overwhelming weight of the evidence;(5) cumulative error required reversal; and (6) Portis’s sentences were disproportionate to the crime. Finding no such errors, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed Portis' convictions. View "Portis v. Mississippi" on Justia Law

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Roger Jackson appealed his convictions for aggravated assault and felon in possession of a firearm. The jury acquitted Jackson of deliberate-design murder, which was charged in the same indictment. Jackson claimed the trial court erred by: (1) limiting defense counsel’s cross- examination of State’s witnesses; and (2) limiting defense counsel’s closing argument about reasonable doubt. Finding no reversible error, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed Jackson’s convictions. View "Jackson v. Mississippi" on Justia Law