Criminal Appellate Decisions – Court of Appeals of Mississippi – 2/7/2023


2/7/2023 – Hand Down List and Published Opinions

Kelvin Edwards v. State of Mississippi – DUI – Probable Cause for Traffic Stop – Edwards was convicted of DUI in Circuit Court.  An officer testified that his probable cause to stop Edwards came from seeing Edwards drive at night without headlights.  At trial, Edwards testified that his headlights were activated before he began driving.  Although there was disagreement about where the traffic stop actually occurred, the officer consistently stated that he saw Edwards drive without his headlights.  The COA affirmed.  The COA affirmed finding that the trial judge as trier of fact found the officer’s testimony to be credible and sufficient to show probable cause.  Edwards also argued that law enforcement failed to disclose to him that he had a right to an alternative BAC test.  The COA applied precedent and held that there is no affirmative duty to inform the accused of their right to have an independent BAC test under section 63-11-13.

Gino Washington, Jr. v. State of Mississippi – Washington was convicted by a jury of capital murder and armed robbery.  On appeal, he argued that the trial court erred by improperly instructing the jury that the State was not seeking the death penalty after an interrogation video showed law enforcement tell Washington that he was facing the death penalty for the crimes. Washington also argued that his due process rights were violated, because the State introduced into evidence a black and white copy of the six (6) pack photo lineup instead of the original color lineup used in the investigation.  Law enforcement testified that it also lost the video of the use of the original color lineup.  Although the COA acknowledged that both the original color lineup and the video are potentially exculpatory and could be useful for cross-examination, the record does not contain any proof of “conscious doing of wrong” to establish bad faith.  Washington also argued that the trial court erred by admitting a firearm into evidence that was irrelevant to the case.  The COA cited the invited-error doctrine in finding the argument lacks merit, because Washington’s trial counsel introduced the weapon into evidence.  Finding no error, the COA affirmed.

Truitt Thomas Pace v. State of Mississippi – Murder – During an argument at home, Pace punched his wife in the face and then shot her in the back of her head.   Pace called 911.  After paramedics and law enforcement arrived, Pace’s wife died.  Following trial, a jury convicted Pace of first-degree murder. On appeal, Pace alleges that the State failed to present sufficient evidence, the verdict was against the weight of the evidence, the trial court erred in admitting certain photographs, the State’s comments during closing arguments prejudiced him, and the trial court erred in refusing his self-defense instruction. The COA affirms.

Leon Brandon v. State of MississippiLindsey Brief – After a trial, a jury found Brandon guilty of being a felon in possession of a firearm.  On appeal, Brandon’s appointed appellate counsel filed a Lindsey brief, certifying that the record presents no arguable issues for appeal.  The COA granted time for Brandon to file a pro se brief which he did not file.  THE COA affirmed the conviction.

Charles Edward Mack v. State of Mississippi – Expungement – In 2000, Mack, a former law enforcement officer, pleaded guilty to a felony charge of introducing contraband to an inmate.  The factual basis to support the conviction showed that Mack, dressed in his police uniform, entered a trusty unit at the Sumner city jail and offered a 16-year-old inmate forty dollars for a sexual favor.  When Mack petitioned the Circuit court to expunge the charge in 2020, the state opposed the request and argued that Miss. Code Ann. 99-19-71(5) prohibited the expungement, because the conviction related to his official duties as a police officer.  The circuit agreed and denied the expungement.  The COA affirmed.

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