DATE OF JUDGMENT: 09/05/96 TRIAL JUDGE: HON. WILLIAM F. COLEMAN COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: HINDS COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT
Before: Bridges, C.j., Coleman, And Diaz, JJ.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Diaz, J., For The Court:
DISTRICT ATTORNEY: EDWARD J. PETERS
NATURE OF THE CASE: CRIMINAL - FELONY
TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: BURGLARY-BUSINESS: SENTENCED AS AN HABITUAL OFFENDER TO SERVE A TERM OF 7 YRS IN THE CUSTODY OF THE MDOC
DISPOSITION AFFIRMED - 02/24/98
MOTION FOR REHEARING FILED:
Jerry Ellis was convicted in the Hinds County Circuit Court of burglary of a business on September 5, 1996 and sentenced to seven years in the Mississippi Department of Corrections. While awaiting trial, Ellis was incarcerated for approximately twenty months. He now appeals alleging his right to a speedy trial was violated and that the Judge erred in denying his motion for a directed verdict, motion for a new trial, or in the alternative, a JNOV because there was insufficient evidence from which he could be found guilty.
On the night of December 27, 1994, Officer Ron Sampson was on patrol right around the corner from the Kickstand Motorcycle Shop (Kickstand). When Sampson turned the corner he saw a man in the parking lot of the Kickstand carrying items of clothing with the tags still intact. Sampson pulled up behind the man. When the man turned to face Sampson, Sampson recognized him as Ellis and called him by name. Ellis dropped the clothes and ran. Other officers had been dispatched to the scene after the call had been given that the Kickstand's burglar alarm was sounding.
Officer Gil Baker found Ellis hiding in a school bus across the street from the Kickstand. Officer Jeff Gagneaux picked up the clothes that Ellis had dropped, and a Kickstand employee identified the clothing as belonging to the Kickstand.
Ellis was arrested on the night of the burglary, December 27, 1994, and was indicted on February 15, 1995. He was arraigned on March 15, 1995, and trial was set for May 24, 1995. The actual trial was not held until September 5, 1996, almost twenty months after the initial arrest.
The first continuance was from May 24, 1995 until August 1, 1995 due to Ellis's changing his mind about plea bargaining and deciding to go to trial instead. This surprised his attorney and left her unprepared to go to trial, causing her to request a continuance until August. Prior to the August 1,1995 scheduled trial date, the defense again asked for a continuance because the defense attorney was to have surgery. The trial was continued until September 13, 1995. The record is void of any reason why the trial was not held on September 13, 1995, but it is clear that the trial was re-set for December 7, 1995. This time the trial Judge rescheduled for January 24, 1996 because he was hearing another case. On January 24, 1996, the trial was again rescheduled due to another case being heard. Ellis' trial was rescheduled for March 28, 1996. Again, there is nothing in the record to indicate why the trial was not held on that day, but it was rescheduled for May 23, 1996. Prior to that date, the defendant ...