Johnson v. State, No. 98-CP-00663-COA.

CourtCourt of Appeals of Mississippi
Writing for the CourtBEFORE KING, P.J., BRIDGES, DIAZ, AND IRVING, JJ.
Citation753 So.2d 449
PartiesOliver JOHNSON, III, Appellant, v. STATE of Mississippi, Appellee.
Decision Date16 November 1999
Docket NumberNo. 98-CP-00663-COA.

753 So.2d 449

Oliver JOHNSON, III, Appellant,
v.
STATE of Mississippi, Appellee

No. 98-CP-00663-COA.

Court of Appeals of Mississippi.

November 16, 1999.


753 So.2d 451
Oliver Johnson, III, Appellant, pro se

Office of the Attorney General by Billy L. Gore, Attorney for Appellee.

BEFORE KING, P.J., BRIDGES, DIAZ, AND IRVING, JJ.

BRIDGES, J., for the Court:

¶ 1. In 1996, Oliver Johnson pled guilty to the possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of a school. He was sentenced to a term of twenty years with five years suspended and fifteen to serve with the Mississippi Department of Corrections. After failing to comply with his plea-bargaining agreement, the trial court re-sentenced Johnson to serve a term of thirty years. In 1997, he filed a motion to vacate and set aside the conviction and the sentence. The Leake County Circuit Court denied this motion. Aggrieved with this decision, Johnson appeals to this Court arguing (1) that he received ineffective assistance of counsel; (2) that his indictment was McNeal defective; (3) that he was re-sentenced in violation of Miss.Code Ann. § 47-7-33 and in violation of the law against double jeopardy; (4) that the circuit judge erred in denying his pretrial motion for severance; and (5) that there was insufficient evidence of his possession of the cocaine to support an indictment. After thorough review, we find that the circuit court was in error when it re-sentenced Johnson to a greater sentence. Therefore, we affirm in part and reverse and render in part.

FACTS

¶ 2. On August 28, 1996, Oliver Johnson, a/k/a "Bodacious," and Rashaad Hayes were jointly indicted for possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute with said possession being within 1,000 feet of Carthage High School. Hayes had previously given a statement to local authorities in which he described the facts surrounding the offense. Apparently, there were several men involved in the manufacturing and distribution of rock cocaine. A heated dispute arose over the selling price of the rock cocaine, and some of these men drew guns and began firing at one another. At this point, Johnson was struck by a bullet and injured.

¶ 3. On September 3, 1996, both Johnson and Hayes pled guilty to the possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of a school, and Johnson was sentenced to a term of twenty years in the Mississippi Department of Corrections with five years suspended and fifteen to

753 So.2d 452
serve. This sentence was part of a plea bargain agreement and conditioned on the fact that both men would give "truthful testimony against any unindicted person in this case." In May of 1997, both men were subpoenaed and brought before the Leake County Grand Jury to give testimony as per their plea bargain agreement, but both men refused to testify. The State then filed a motion for re-sentencing, and Johnson was re-sentenced to serve a term of thirty years with the Mississippi Department of Corrections. On December 9, 1997, Johnson filed a motion to vacate his guilty plea and to set aside his conviction and sentence. The trial judge dismissed Johnson's motion for post-conviction relief on the ground that it failed to state a cause for which relief can be granted. Johnson has now perfected his appeal to this Court

ARGUMENT AND DISCUSSION OF LAW

I. WHETHER JOHNSON RECEIVED INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL.

¶ 4. Johnson is arguing on appeal that he was denied effective assistance of counsel. Johnson contends that his attorney failed to pursue discovery, failed to object to a defective indictment, and failed to step down from the case of Johnson's co-defendant, Hayes. Johnson is proceeding pro se, and as this Court has previously stated, "we have the discretion to address the substance of what appears to be a petitioner's complaint even if inartfully phrased." McCaleb v. State, 743 So.2d 409 (¶ 6) (Miss.Ct.App. 1999).

Standard of Review

¶ 5. The Mississippi Supreme Court adopted the Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 687-96, 104 S.Ct. 2052, 80 L.Ed.2d 674 (1984), standard for evaluating ineffective assistance of counsel claims. Eakes v. State, 665 So.2d 852, 872 (Miss.1995). A defendant has to show that his attorney's performance was deficient, and that the deficiency was so substantial as to deprive the defendant of a fair trial. Id. We require that the defendant prove both elements. Brown v. State, 626 So.2d 114, 115 (Miss.1993); Wilcher v. State, 479 So.2d 710, 713 (Miss.1985). In any case presenting an ineffective assistance of counsel claim, the performance inquiry must be whether counsel's assistance was reasonable considering all the circumstances. Foster v. State, 687 So.2d 1124, 1129 (Miss.1996). This is measured by a totality of the circumstances, and thus, the Court must look at counsel's over-all performance. Taylor v. State, 682 So.2d 359, 363 (Miss.1996). There is no constitutional right to errorless counsel. Foster, 687 So.2d at 1130. "Judicial scrutiny of counsel's performance must be highly deferential." Strickland, 466 U.S. at 689, 104 S.Ct. 2052.

[T]here is a strong presumption that counsel's performance falls within the range of reasonable professional assistance. To overcome this presumption, "[t]he defendant must show that there is a reasonable probability that, but for counsel's unprofessional errors, the result of the proceeding would have been different. A reasonable probability is a probability sufficient to undermine confidence in the outcome."

Schmitt v. State, 560 So.2d 148, 154 (Miss. 1990) (quoting Strickland, 466 U.S. at 694, 104 S.Ct. 2052).

Issue 1: Was Johnson denied effective assistance of counsel by his attorney's failure to pursue discovery?

¶ 6. In his submitted brief, Johnson specifically argues that his attorney did not pursue discovery and never told Johnson the amount of cocaine that he supposedly possessed. He further maintains that this "discovery" would have changed his mind about pleading guilty and also would have produced a different result at a trial. The State contends that Johnson's claim was waived by his plea of guilty. Even without the waiver, the State argues that Johnson's claim was not specific and failed

753 So.2d 453
to show that his counsel's performance was deficient or that it prejudiced him in any way. We agree

¶ 7. The Mississippi Supreme Court has stated:

[W]e have recognized that a valid guilty plea operates as a waiver of all non-jurisdictional rights or defects which are incident to trial. We have generally included in this class "those [rights] secured by the Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, as well as those comparable rights secured by Sections 14 and 26, Article 3, of the Mississippi Constitution of 1890."

Anderson v. State, 577 So.2d 390, 391 (Miss.1991)(quoting Sanders v. State, 440 So.2d 278, 283 (Miss.1983)).

¶ 8. Moreover, even if Johnson's argument was not waived, we find it to be without merit. Johnson has failed to demonstrate that there is reasonable probability that had counsel pursued discovery the result would have been different. Johnson's brief implies that the "amount" of cocaine might have made a difference in his choice to plead guilty. However, this does not show a deficiency in his counsel's representation. The trial transcript shows that Johnson understood the guilty plea petition and that by pleading guilty he would be waiving certain rights. In Wilson v. State, 577 So.2d 394, 396 (Miss. 1991), the supreme court held that "a guilty plea must be made voluntarily in order to satisfy the defendant's constitutional rights." A plea is considered voluntary if the defendant knows the...

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32 practice notes
  • State v. Edgar, No. 91,833.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Kansas
    • February 10, 2006
    ...545 (1968) (by pleading guilty, defendant waived motions to suppress evidence and for severance and separate trial); Johnson v. State, 753 So.2d 449, 455 (Miss.App.1999) (defendant's guilty plea waived claim that trial court should have granted his motion for severance based on argument tha......
  • Johnson v. Sysco Food Servs., No. 2011–WC–01086–SCT.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • May 3, 2012
    ...or if further “lost wage-earning capacity” or “rate of compensation” determinations are necessary. Gregg, 64 So.3d at 474;J.H. Moon, 753 So.2d at 449;Doyle, 749 So.2d at 47. For these reasons, I urge that the constitutional infirmity in this provision should be remedied by the Legislature.D......
  • People v. Scura, No. 01CA2146.
    • United States
    • Colorado Court of Appeals of Colorado
    • April 24, 2003
    ...courts have similarly held that the revocation of a suspended sentence is analogous to the revocation of probation. Johnson v. State, 753 So.2d 449 (Miss.Ct.App.1999); State v. Weeks, 141 N.H. 248, 681 A.2d 86 (1996); Commonwealth v. Duffy, 452 Pa.Super. 130, 681 A.2d 219 (1996); Holden v. ......
  • Knox v. State, No. 2003-KA-00768-COA.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • October 20, 2005
    ...the Mississippi Supreme Court has held that double jeopardy is a basic constitutional right that can not be waived. Johnson v. State, 753 So.2d 449, 454(¶ 13) ¶ 9. In making the determination of whether a criminal defendant has been Page 1007 subjected to double jeopardy, this Court looks t......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
32 cases
  • State v. Edgar, No. 91,833.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Kansas
    • February 10, 2006
    ...545 (1968) (by pleading guilty, defendant waived motions to suppress evidence and for severance and separate trial); Johnson v. State, 753 So.2d 449, 455 (Miss.App.1999) (defendant's guilty plea waived claim that trial court should have granted his motion for severance based on argument tha......
  • Johnson v. Sysco Food Servs., No. 2011–WC–01086–SCT.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • May 3, 2012
    ...or if further “lost wage-earning capacity” or “rate of compensation” determinations are necessary. Gregg, 64 So.3d at 474;J.H. Moon, 753 So.2d at 449;Doyle, 749 So.2d at 47. For these reasons, I urge that the constitutional infirmity in this provision should be remedied by the Legislature.D......
  • People v. Scura, No. 01CA2146.
    • United States
    • Colorado Court of Appeals of Colorado
    • April 24, 2003
    ...courts have similarly held that the revocation of a suspended sentence is analogous to the revocation of probation. Johnson v. State, 753 So.2d 449 (Miss.Ct.App.1999); State v. Weeks, 141 N.H. 248, 681 A.2d 86 (1996); Commonwealth v. Duffy, 452 Pa.Super. 130, 681 A.2d 219 (1996); Holden v. ......
  • Knox v. State, No. 2003-KA-00768-COA.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • October 20, 2005
    ...the Mississippi Supreme Court has held that double jeopardy is a basic constitutional right that can not be waived. Johnson v. State, 753 So.2d 449, 454(¶ 13) ¶ 9. In making the determination of whether a criminal defendant has been Page 1007 subjected to double jeopardy, this Court looks t......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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