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JOHN V. POOL, III v. STATE OF MISSISSIPPI

FEBRUARY 05, 1986

JOHN
V.
POOL, III v. STATE OF MISSISSIPPI



BEFORE ROY NOBLE LEE, DAN LEE AND PRATHER

DAN LEE, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

John Pool was indicted, on February 27, 1984, for possession of several Schedule II drugs, and, after arraignment and appointment of counsel on July 24, 1984, trial was set for July 31, 1984.

Pool's counsel moved for an unspecified continuance on July 30, 1984. At a pretrial hearing, the trial judge rescheduled the trial for the last week of the July term. The case came on for trial on August 6, 1984, apparently without objection from defense counsel.

 The jury found Pool guilty as charged. He was sentenced to 25 years in the Mississippi State Penitentiary, plus payment of a $50,000.00 fine and all costs.

 Pool appeals, assigning as error the following:

 I. The trial court erred in refusing to grant the Motion to Quash the Search Warrant and the return thereon and to suppress the evidence obtained thereby.

 II. The trial court erred in refusing to grant sufficient time for appellant's counsel to prepare the defense of this case.

 III. The trial court erred in refusing to grant the motion for a directed verdict

 of not guilty at the conclusion of the State's case.

 IV. The trial court erred in limiting and restricting the testimony of the defense witness Dan Wise concerning prior inconsistent statements of a State's witness.

 STATEMENT OF FACTS

 Laurel police arrested Vance Steverson, either on the night of November 3rd or the early morning hours of November 4th, on a drug violation. After the arrest, Steverson informed the police that a quantity of drugs stolen during a drug store burglary in Petal, Mississippi, were stored at John Pool's trailer and in his possession. As a result of receiving that information, the police obtained a warrant to search Pool's residence.

 The warrant authorized search of the property occupied and controlled by "Johnny Poole, Mitchell Strickland and Vance Steverson," which was described as follows:

 Beginning at the intersection of Holly Street and Church Street in the City of Ellisville, and traveling north on Church Street for 6/10's of a mile to a gravel road; being the entrance to Jones Trailer Park. Turning left onto said gravel road and traveling approximately 50 yards to the 3rd house trailer on the right. Being more specific said house trailer being brown and yellow in color and having a tall wood fence around porch. This being in the City of Ellisville, 1st Judicial District of Jones County, Mississippi. Beat #4.

 The arresting officers testified that the directions indicated on the warrant corresponded with their route, and that Pool's trailer could be located by using those directions.

 Upon arriving at the trailer, the officers announced their presence. When no one answered the door, they forced their way inside. Upon finding John Pool inside, an officer testified that he served Pool with a copy of the warrant. Pool's testimony contradicted this, and he asserted that he never saw the warrant until he arrived at the jail. The trial judge overruled the motion to suppress.

 The officers found Mitchell Strickland asleep in

 a bedroom of the trailer. He was awakened by the officers, and both he and Pool were seated in the living room while the search took place. The officers found a red onion bag beneath the bed on which Strickland had been sleeping, and that bag contained the drugs described by Steverson. Pool stated to the officers that the trailer was his, and that the master bedroom (in which Strickland was found sleeping) was also his. This was his testimony at trial also, and it was corroborated by Strickland.

 Steverson testified at trial that he and Pool obtained the drugs together and split them between themselves. According to Steverson, Pool told him that he intended to sell his part of the drugs in Hattiesburg. This is the story that Steverson originally told the arresting officers. However, he later told a Hattiesburg police officer that the drugs were not Pool's and that Pool did not know that they were in the trailer. According to Steverson, he made the statement after Pool told him that his father was a friend of the governor's, and could help get him out. Steverson retracted his statement at trial, and he stated that Pool "knew what was going on."

 On cross-examination, Steverson admitted that he told others that the drugs were entirely his. He was asked about a statement allegedly made to Dan Wise, who represented Pool in another criminal case. The following exchange between Steverson and defense counsel ensued:

 Q. Didn't you tell Mr. Wise at the Forrest County Jail sometime in early May of this year when you were confined down there and he talked to you in that jail, didn't you tell him that Johnny Pool did not know or have anything to do with the drugs that were found at his trailer?

 A. I don't remember it.

 Q. Mr. Steverson, would you deny it?

 A. I won't deny that I told him that, no.

 Steverson also admitted that the District Attorney had promised to nolle prosequi a charge of possession of drugs, in return for his testimony, and that the DA "would try and help me because he believed that I have learned my lesson."

 The defense called Dan Wise to testify to the consersation between himself and Steverson. The prosecutor's objection

 to the testimony was sustained, on the grounds that Steverson had admitted the conservation. After the proffer, the following exchange took place:

 THE COURT:

 Why isn't it hearsay ...


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