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FANNIE BUCKHALTER v. STATE OF MISSISSIPPI

NOVEMBER 13, 1985

FANNIE BUCKHALTER
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI



EN BANC.

WALKER, PRESIDING JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

Fannie Buckhalter was indicted for murder but convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to ten (10) years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections in the Circuit Court of Covington County. She appeals assigning, inter alia, the following errors:

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT DECLARING A MISTRIAL WHEN STATE'S WITNESS BOBBY BLACKWELL TESTIFIED AS TO STATEMENTS MADE BY APPELLANT BUT NOT REVEALED BY THE STATE TO DEFENSE COUNSEL PRIOR TO TRIAL PURSUANT TO AN ORDER OF THE TRIAL COURT UNDER RULE 4.06 OF THE UNIFORM CRIMINAL RULES OF CIRCUIT COURT PRACTICE

 On October 7, 1912 this Court adopted and promulgated the Revised Rules of the Supreme Court of Mississippi which included our present Rule 11 and provides:

 No judgment shall be reversed on the ground of misdirection to the jury, or the improper admission or exclusion of evidence, or for error as to the matter of pleading or procedure, unless it shall

 affirmatively appear, from the whole record, that such judgment has resulted in a miscarriage of justice.

 The reasoning behind the rule had been applied by this Court for many years after rejecting the Exchequer Rule *fn1 which produced illogical and absurd results,

 The administration of justice is a practical thing. It should be administered in a practical way, so as, while not denying to any defendant any substantial right to which he is entitled by the law of the land, to protect society from violators of the law, and to secure the punishment of guilty persons properly convicted. *fn2

 With these principles in mind, we look to the record which reveals there was absolutely no prejudice in the failure of the state to advise counsel that his client, Fannie Buckhalter, had made an oral statement to the deputy sheriff, who was investigating the case. The statement was that when he met Fannie walking along the road after the fatal killing he asked her what was going on and she replied, "He's dead, I killed him, he's dead."

 The district attorney failed to produce the statement of Buckhalter for inspection and use by the defendant and her counsel who now contend that the trial court erred by admitting the statement into evidence. However, the record reveals that Buckhalter's defense was self-defense which by its nature constitutes an admission that she killed the deceased but was justified in doing so. When considered in context, Fannie's statement to the deputy sheriff that killed the deceased was not an admission of guilt or with her plea of self-defense in any way whatsoever. Nor did the circumstances surrounding the statement indicate that she was fleeing or conducting herself in a manner inconsistent with her defense.

 It is the opinion of some members of the Court that we should reverse the case simply because the order of discovery was not fully complied with. Enlightened courts abandoned the Exchequer Rule many years ago in favor of the policy and logic found in Rule 11.

 We have carefully considered this assignment of error and are of the opinion, after considering the whole record as required by Rule 11, that the judgment has not resulted in a miscarriage of justice.

 The remaining assignments of error are ...


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