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Bell v. State

April 07, 1998

BELL V. STATE


Before McMILLIN, P.j., Herring, And Hinkebein, JJ.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Herring, J.

HENRY "JODIE" BELL A/K/A HENRY "JODY" BELL, APPELLANT v. STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, APPELLEE

THIS OPINION IS NOT DESIGNATED FOR PUBLICATION AND MAY NOT BE CITED, PURSUANT TO M.R.A.P. 35-B

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 10/16/95

TRIAL JUDGE: HON. LAMAR PICKARD

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: JEFFERSON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT

NATURE OF THE CASE: CRIMINAL - FELONY

TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: UNLAWFUL POSSESSION OF COCAINE WITH INTENT TO DISTRIBUTE: SENTENCED TO SERVE A TERM OF 30 YRS IN THE MDOC

DISPOSITION REVERSED AND REMANDED - 4/7/98

MOTION FOR REHEARING FILED:

CERTIORARI FILED:

MANDATE ISSUED:

This is an appeal from the conviction of Henry "Jodie" Bell of possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute in violation of Mississippi Code Annotated Section 43-29-139 (Rev. 1993). Bell now claims that his conviction should be reversed because (1) he was provided with ineffective assistance of counsel; (2) the verdict was against the overwhelming weight of the evidence; (3) improper evidence was admitted concerning a prior drug sale; (4) evidence presented at trial was the result of an unlawful search; and (5) because the trial court erred in dismissing a juror. We agree with the Appellant that he was provided with ineffective assistance of counsel which denied him a fair trial. Accordingly, we reverse and remand for a new trial.

A. THE FACTS

This case arises from a search of Bell's home on November 23, 1994, by law enforcement officers of the Metro Narcotics Unit of Adams County, Mississippi. This search resulted in the seizure of crack cocaine, and other drug related paraphernalia. Law enforcement officers became suspicious of Bell after receiving a tip from a confidential informant named Michael Demby. Without obtaining a warrant to search the Bell residence, the officers traveled to Bell's home and knocked on the door. When Bell opened the door, Officer Gary Vanderslice and others entered and requested Bell's permission to search the premises. Officer Vanderslice testified that he then read from a printed form and informed Bell of his rights to refuse consent to the search and to demand a search warrant. Bell, on the other hand, claims that the officers held a gun to his head and forced him to sign the consent form. Officer Vanderslice testified that no threats or inducements were made to Bell. In any event, Bell signed the consent form, and the officers searched the home. This search revealed a small glass jar, a set of triple beam scales, a set of spoons and a knife, some plastic baggies, a box cutter, a bank bag, a brown paper bag containing a white substance, a cooking pot, $382 in cash, one and one-half boxes of baking soda. a ...


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