Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

J. W. HENRY v. STATE OF MISSISSIPPI

FEBRUARY 05, 1986

J. W. HENRY
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI



EN BANC

DAN LEE, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

This appeal arises out of a burglary conviction in Hancock County for which J. W. Henry was sentenced to five years imprisonment. On appeal, Henry asserts that the trial court lacked jurisdiction, and that an inculpatory statement he made should not have been admitted into evidence. Finding no reversible error, we affirm.

Beyond the substantial legal issues tendered, the prolongation of the processing and adjudication of this appeal is a matter of great concern. In the six years that have come and gone since he was convicted on this burglary, J. W. Henry has completed the service of his sentence. Although we here affirm, such laxity and delay is most disturbing.

 On the afternoon of November 2, 1978, a two-door, hardtop, cream and gold Pontiac drove up to the rear of the home of Richard E. Grayson in Waveland, Mississippi. The car contained three or four young black men. Some of the young men exited the vehicle. Two stood around outside while one apparently entered the house. Moments later, Will Hines, a neighbor, approached the Grayson home and asked one of the two young men outside the house what they were doing. This conversation - and his observation of Grayson's stereo set outside the house - caused Hines to suspect that the Grayson home was being burglarized. He returned to his home and called the police.

 In response to Hines's call, the police arrived and, with Hines's assistance, determined that the Grayson home had been burglarized. Hines furnished a description of the vehicle used during the commission of the burglary. In due course, the police located a vehicle matching that description and photographed it. Hines was shown this photograph and two or three photographs of other cars. He identified the photograph of the vehicle the police had located. The police determined that the vehicle belonged to Joseph Henry, a separate person having no relation to J. W. Henry except the coincidence of their last names.

 Hines also told the police that the black youth with whom he had spoken was named Pookie Mercer. Mercer was arrested but denied knowing anything about the burglary. J. W. Henry was subsequently arrested pursuant to an arrest

 warrant about which more will be said later. The evidence that initially caused the police to suspect J. W. Henry does not appear in the record.

 Henry was arrested at 4:55 p.m. on November 6, 1978. He was taken to the police station, advised of his Miranda rights, and presented with a" Waiver of Rights "form which he signed at 5:03 p.m. By 5:35 p.m., Henry had confessed to the burglary. A police officer transcribed Henry's confession, but Henry refused to sign the written statement.

 The record reflects that on November 9, 1978, proceedings in this case were begun against J. W. Henry in youth court of Hancock County. The prosecutor's office was apparently of the impression that Henry was, at that time, only 17 years old. Upon discovering this error, the youth court entered an order of dismissal without prejudice.

 The Grand Jury of Hancock County, on January 10, 1979, returned an indictment charging J. W. Henry and two others with the burglary of the Grayson home. Henry moved to quash the indictment and remand the case to youth court. That request was denied.

 The case was called for trial in the Circuit Court of Hancock County on April 10, 1979. At trial, two police officers who had been present during the waiver of rights and interrogation of J. W. Henry stated that no coercion was used to affect the waiver, nor was Henry under any duress at that time. The police officers' recounting of the oral confession made by J. W. Henry was the primary evidence offered at trial which connected Henry to this burglary.

 After hearing and considering all of the evidence, the jury returned a verdict of guilty of burglary of a dwelling, Miss. Code Ann. 97-17-19 (1972). Henry was sentenced to a term of five years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

 At the outset, Henry challenges the authority of the circuit court to hear and adjudge the charge against him. Instead, he argues, jurisdiction lay in the youth court.

 In support, Henry urges: (1) the only evidence in the record regarding his age at the time of the crime in the record is in the form of affidavits showing him to be 17 years old; and (2) even if he was 18, a December 10, 1975, order of the youth court of Hancock County (adjudicating him a delinquent and retaining jurisdiction for dispositional

 purposes) had the effect of vesting in the youth court jurisdiction over all of Henry's subsequent misadventures until he should reach the age of 20 years, supposedly as provided in the old youth court act, Miss. Code Ann. 43-21-9 (1972).

 Henry's first basis for his youth court jurisdiction theory - an absence of proof that he was 18 years old at the time of the crime - dissolves rather quickly in the face of his birth certificate which establishes Henry's date of birth as October 9, 1960. *fn1 The instant burglary occurred on November 2, 1978. Enough said.

 Henry's second point begins with an order entered by the youth court of Hancock County on December 10, 1975. By virtue of that order, Henry was adjudged a delinquent and was placed on supervised probation. The order expressly provided that the Youth" Court retains jurisdiction of said child as authorized . . . [by law]. "

 For a determination of what jurisdiction was authorized by law, we review the statutes.

 The Youth Court Act, in effect at the time, provided in Miss. Code Ann. 43-21-9 (1972):

 Where jurisdiction shall have been obtained by the Court in the case of a child, jurisdiction of such person as well as of any offenses by him committed may be retained or resumed by the Court until he becomes twenty years of age. . . .

 No doubt this statute conferred upon the youth court authority to act with respect to Henry's 1975 delinquency through and including his twentieth birthday. In Re Green, 203 So. 2d 470, 472 (Miss. 1967). In no way, however, does it operate to deprive the circuit court of jurisdiction to try new offenses committed beyond a juvenile offender's eighteenth birthday, though the youth court retains jurisdiction for dispositional purposes (including probation revocation or modification) of all matters arising out of the prior juvenile offense.

 The point has been made express in an amendment to the youth court jurisdiction statute effective July 1, 1979. Miss. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.