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GEORGE FRANK WRIGHT v. STATE OF MISSISSIPPI

AUGUST 26, 1987

GEORGE FRANK WRIGHT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI



BEFORE ROY NOBLE LEE, P.J.; PRATHER AND ROBERTSON, JJ.

ROBERTSON, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

I.

Today's appeal arises from a burglary conviction and presents questions regarding the extent to which a trial judge may instruct a jury when, after deliberations have begun, it asks for explanation on a point of law and thereafter reports it is deadlocked. Also presented is a right to counsel question. For the reasons set forth below, we find no merit to any of the assignments of error. We affirm.

 On November 29, 1984, George Frank Wright broke into a truck in the parking lot of the Rebel Lounge in Gulfport, Mississippi. Wright was spotted in the truck by Vicky Henderson, co-owner of the lounge who saw Wright leaning over in the seat, reaching under the dashboard. Apparently realizing that he had been seen, Wright lay down in the seat of the truck. Henderson approached the truck and told Wright he would get in trouble for what he was doing. Wright protested that he had done nothing; it was "the other guy," and left the truck "walking pretty fast."

 Henderson went back inside and asked for the owner of the red truck to come outside. Thomas Devins responded and discovered that the passenger window on his truck had been broken, the passenger door opened, and the glove compartment opened as well. He spotted George Wright down the road and apprehended him. Wright "kept on talking and like some black dude had gotten in the truck and he was after him."

 Wright was arrested on the spot. Four days later, on December 4, 1984, he was taken before a magistrate for his initial appearance. Though Wright was indigent, counsel was not appointed at this time nor was a preliminary hearing set. Apparently nothing was done to afford Wright counsel on the present charge until January 8, 1985, when a detective from the Gulfport Police Department contacted Wright's attorney from a previous case. The preliminary hearing was held on January 24, 1985.

 Thereafter, Wright was put to trial in the Circuit Court of Harrison County and on May 7, 1985, he was found guilty of burglary of a truck. Miss. Code Ann. 97-17-33 (1972). By reason of his somewhat extensive record of prior convictions, Wright was sentenced to seven years imprisonment, the maximum allowed by law for this crime. Miss. Code Ann. 97-17-33 (1972).

 III.

 Wright does not seriously contend on his appeal that the

 evidence in this case is inadequate, either from the vantage point of sufficiency or weight, to undergird his conviction. Suffice it to say that upon our review of the record, we consider the evidence of Wright's guilt of the charge laid in the indictment is quite substantial and wholly beyond our authority to disturb. See, e.g., Burt v. State, 493 So.2d 1325, 1328 (Miss.1986); Whatley v. State, 490 So.2d 1220, 1223-24 (Miss.1986); Jenkins v. State, 483 So.2d 1330, 1332 (Miss.1986); Winston v. State, 479 So.2d 1093, 1095-96 (Miss.1985).

 IV.

 Wright argues that he was denied the right to counsel at a critical stage of the proceedings against him and, accordingly, that his conviction and sentence should be reversed. He specifically points to the Circuit Court's order overruling his pre-trial motion to dismiss predicated upon the same grounds. Wright's point is hard to follow, for we find no indication in the record that anything happened to Wright during the period that he was without counsel that resulted in any adverse impact upon him in connection with his trial or the proceedings against him.

 To be sure, the judicial machinery of Harrison County was a bit slow footed in affording Wright counsel. He was arrested on November 29, 1984. He was afforded an initial appearance, see Rule 1.04, Miss.Unif.Crim.R.Cir.Ct.Prac., on December 4, 1984, but no counsel was provided at that time. The record reflects that counsel was not formally appointed until April 22, 1985.

 Rule 1.04 provides that every arrested person shall be taken before a judicial officer for an initial appearance "without ...


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