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Price v. State

March 12, 1998

PRICE
v.
STATE



Before Prather, C.j., Smith And Waller, JJ.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Prather, Chief Justice

MARIO PRICE v. STATE OF MISSISSIPPI

THIS OPINION IS NOT DESIGNATED FOR PUBLICATION AND MAY NOT BE CITED, PURSUANT TO M.R.A.P. 35-A MEMORANDUM/PER CURIAM AFFIRMANCE

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 03/17/97

TRIAL JUDGE: HON. JOSEPH H. LOPER, JR.

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: GRENADA COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - POST CONVICTION RELIEF

DISPOSITION AFFIRMED - 3/12/98

Mario Price was indicted for murder, and subsequently pled guilty to manslaughter. He was sentenced to twenty years in prison, to be served consecutively with a five-year sentence on an unrelated charge of aggravated assault. On appeal from the trial Judge's denial of post-conviction relief (PCR), Price argues that his attorney should not have allowed him to plead guilty to manslaughter. Specifically, Price alleges that the prosecutor confessed" that the State could only prove manslaughter, and could not prove the murder charge contained in the indictment. This is not an apt depiction of the record. However, in summarizing the evidence against Price, the prosecutor did state that Price killed the victim "in the heat of passion".

Price now contends that he only pled guilty to manslaughter to avoid the possibility of being sentenced to life in prison, if convicted of murder. Price asserts that defense counsel should not have allowed him to plead guilty to manslaughter, after learning that the State could allegedly prove only manslaughter. That is, Price makes the unique argument that his attorney was deficient for allowing him to plead guilty to the crime of which he was actually guilty. This argument is clearly specious. See Drennan v. State, 695 So. 2d 581, 584 (Miss. 1997) (a valid guilty plea waives any non-jurisdictional objection to the indictment); Estes v. State, 605 So. 2d 772, 775 (Miss. 1992) (a valid guilty plea waives objection to indictment, even when defendant pleads guilty to a crime that is NOT a lesser- included offense of the charge contained in the indictment). See also Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 687 (1984) (the appellant must prove that counsel's performance was deficient and that appellant was prejudiced thereby); Hansen v. State, 649 So. 2d 1256, 1258 (Miss. 1994). (the "defense counsel is presumed competent and the burden of proving otherwise rests on [the appellant].") Therefore, the trial Judge's denial of post-conviction relief is affirmed, per curiam.

DENIAL OF POST-CONVICTION RELIEF AFFIRMED.

SULLIVAN AND PITTMAN, P.JJ., BANKS, McRAE, ROBERTS, SMITH, MILLS AND WALLER, JJ., CONCUR.

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