Brown v. State, 58009

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
Writing for the CourtGRIFFIN; ROY NOBLE LEE
Citation534 So.2d 1019
PartiesBilly Gunn BROWN v. STATE of Mississippi.
Docket NumberNo. 58009,58009
Decision Date09 November 1988

Page 1019

534 So.2d 1019
Billy Gunn BROWN
STATE of Mississippi.
No. 58009.
Supreme Court of Mississippi.
Nov. 9, 1988.
Rehearing Denied Dec. 28, 1988.

Page 1020

G. Jyles Eaves, Louisville, John Arthur Eaves, Jackson, for appellant.

Edwin Lloyd Pittman and Mike Moore, Attys. Gen. by John R. Henry, Jr., Sp. Asst. Atty. Gen., Jackson, for appellee.


Page 1021

GRIFFIN, Justice, for the Court:


Billy Gunn Brown was indicted by the Lauderdale County Grand Jury on May 9, 1986, with four different charges arising from occurrences from March 7, 1985, through August 31, 1985. Count I charged Brown with sexual battery of a minor child, M.B., § 97-3-95, Miss.Code Ann. (Supp.1986); Count II with touching and handling a minor child, M.B., § 97-5-23, Miss.Code Ann. (Supp.1986); Count III with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, M.B., § 43-23-25, Miss.Code Ann. (Supp.1986); and Count IV with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, G.C., § 43-23-25, Miss.Code Ann. (Supp.1986).

A jury trial was held in the Circuit Court of Lauderdale County, Honorable Lester F. Williamson presiding, on August 25, 1986. Billy Gunn Brown was found guilty of all four charges.

The court sentenced Brown to 12 years in the Miss. Dept. of Corrections on Count I. He was fined $1,000 on Count II, $500 on Count III, and $500 on Count IV. From this verdict and sentence, Brown appeals. The appellant assigns as error the following:

1. The court erred in overruling appellant's motion to quash the multiple count indictment and for allowing the State to try the appellant on all counts in a single trial.

2. The court erred in admitting into evidence certain physical evidence that was unconstitutionally obtained and that should have been suppressed.

3. The court erred in allowing introduction of immaterial, irrelevant, and highly prejudicial evidence that when taken as a whole denied appellant his right to a fair and impartial trial.

We find appellant's assigned errors without merit and affirm his conviction and sentence.


Billy Gunn Brown was born May 21, 1932. He is a disabled veteran. Due to a spinal injury, sustained while serving in the army during the Korean conflict, he lost all use and movement of his body from the waist down. Brown was a Justice Court Judge of District I, Lauderdale County, from January 1976, until August 1984.

M.B. is the daughter, by a prior marriage, of Brown's ex-wife. Her mother and Brown divorced in August, 1984. M.B. began living with Brown in March 1985 in order to attend Northwest school in Meridian. She was thirteen (13) years old at the time the offenses were committed.

G.C. was one of M.B.'s best friends. She began spending nights at Brown's house in March, 1985. She was fourteen (14) at this time.

After March, 1985, Brown started showing the two girls pictures of nude women. He offered them $75.00 each to pose for pictures. The girls posed nude, and in various positions. They were also shown Playboy magazines.

Brown then began having parties for the girls. The girls were given alcoholic drinks, marijuana, and other drugs. They were then taken to Brown's bedroom, where Brown undressed them and performed various sexual acts with them. These encounters started in April, 1985 and continued until August, 1985. In addition to these acts, Brown had the girls use various methods to stimulate him; and they burned their initials into his sides. He showed the girls movies depicting lesbian acts and had them engage in lesbian relations at least once.




Appellant, Brown, was charged in a multi-count indictment on May 9, 1986. At that time there was no statute in effect allowing this type of indictment. Appellant filed a demurrer to the indictment, citing Stinson v. State, 443 So.2d 869 (Miss.1983); Bennett v. State, 451 So.2d 727 (Miss.1984); Johnson v. State, 452 So.2d 850

Page 1022

(Miss.1984); Friday v. State, 462 So.2d 336 (Miss.1985); Thomas v. State, 474 So.2d 604 (Miss.1985). This demurrer was overruled.

On July 1, 1986, § 99-7-2 Miss.Code Ann. (Supp.1986) went into effect. This statute states:

1. Two or more offenses which are triable in the same Court may be charged in the same indictment with a separate count for each offense if:

(a) the offenses are based on the same act or transaction; or

(b) the offenses are based on two or more acts or transactions connected together or constituting parts of a common scheme or plan.

2. Where two or more offenses are properly charged in separate counts of a single indictment, all such charges may be tried in a single proceeding.

3. When a defendant is convicted of two or more offenses charged in separated counts of an indictment, the court shall impose separate sentences for such conviction.

4. The jury, or the Court in cases in which a jury is waived, shall return a separate verdict for each count of an indictment drawn under subsection (1) of this section.


Ex Post Facto

Appellant argues that by allowing the multiple count indictment, the trial court applied § 99-7-2 in such a manner as to constitute an ex post facto law, in violation of the United States Constitution, Art. I, Sec. 10. Because our decision on the multi-count indictment is based upon existing case law, and not § 99-7-2, we will not rule on this issue.


The Multiple Indictment

Brown urges that the multiple count indictment results in multiple punishments growing out of the same set of operative facts, which constitutes reversible error, citing Stinson v. State, 443 So.2d 869 (Miss.1983); Bennett v. State, 451 So.2d 727 (Miss.1984); Johnson v. State, 452 So.2d 850 (Miss.1984); Friday v. State, 462 So.2d 336 (Miss.1985); Thomas v. State, 474 So.2d 604, 605 (Miss.1985). He further argues that certain evidence would have been inadmissible in separate trials, and that the cumulative effect of all of the evidence prejudiced his right to a fair trial. In support of this proposition, he cites Friday v. State, supra, in which this Court stated that consolidation where evidence of the crime would not be mutually admissible in separate trials destroyed the defendant's right to the presumption of innocence.

No case in the Stinson line held that it was error in and of itself for the State to obtain a multiple count indictment. It was the combination of the indictment with a trial on all counts that created error. Stinson did not create a per se rule that the multi-count indictment was error. Dixon v. State, 465 So.2d 1092 (Miss.1985) and Breckenridge v. State, 472 So.2d 373 (Miss.1985).

As stated in Justice Robertson's special concurrence to Thomas v. State, 474 So.2d at 607, there is a great potential for mischief in allowing a multi-count indictment where the charges arise out of separate transactions or occurrences...

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