Criminal Appellate Decisions – Court of Appeals of Mississippi – 1/24/2023

Criminal Appellate Decisions – Court of Appeals of Mississippi – 1/24/2023

1/24/2023 – Hand Down List and Published Opinions

Gloria Brewer Wells v. State of Mississippi – Wells was indicted for sale of methamphetamine.  The sale took place at Wells’s home to a confidential informant.  At trial, the confidential informant and law enforcement testified that the CI had twice been arrested for possession of methamphetamine, then became a confidential informant and had her charges dropped.  At trial, defense counsel focused on whether the CI could be trusted.  During cross-examination, when defense counsel pressed the CI on whether she was lying on a particular fact, the CI responded “that’s not the only time I’ve bought from Ms. Wells.”  The trial court denied the defendant’s motion for a mistrial finding that defense counsel opened the door.  The COA likewise held that the “defendant cannot complain of evidence which he himself brought out.”  As to the jury instruction, the COA held that it was not an abuse of discretion to deny the cautionary instruction if the details of the CI relationship are disclosed to the jury and the CI is subject to cross-examination.  The COA affirms.

Jose A. Melendez v. State of Mississippi – Melendez was indicted for and convicted of second-degree murder and aggravated assault.  On appeal, he challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting the conviction of second-degree murder; claimed ineffective assistance of counsel for trial counsel’s failure to request an imperfect self-defense and culpable negligence jury instruction; and asserts error by the circuit court for granting a flight instruction.  The COA affirmed the conviction finding there to be sufficient evidence to support the second-degree murder; the record was insufficient to consider the issue of ineffective assistance of counsel; and Melendez is procedurally barred from raising any error regarding the flight instruction, because he failed to object at trial.

Dcorious Alford v. State of Mississippi – Constructive Possession – Homogeneous Testing – During a traffic stop to serve a warrant on Alford, law enforcement found a bag containing 128 pills of various colors and markings.  At trial, the laboratory examiner testified that she tested three of the pills from the bag, because 3 pills constitute a representative sample.  All three pills contained methamphetamine.  On appeal, Alford asserts that the State failed to present sufficient evidence to show that the possessed more than three illegal pills containing methamphetamine.  He claims that the State did not prove that the pills were homogenous, and therefore the State failed to establish a foundation to accept a sample testing of the pills as sufficient proof that they all contained methamphetamine.  Three different designs appeared on the pills which were a variety of different colors.  The forsenic chemist testified that she tested one pill of each design.  The jury saw a photo of the bag containing the pills.  Alford failed to raise the homogenous issue at trial so the record was not fully developed on the issue.  The COA affirmed the conviction and held that the jury is permitted to draw any reasonable inferences from all the evidence presented in the case, and it could have inferred that the pills were homogeneous.

Pro Se PCRs

Forrest Thomas v. State of Mississippi

Jess Lee Green v. State of Mississippi

Mondric Bradley v. State of Mississippi

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