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Culp v. State

June 30, 1998

CULP
v.
STATE



Before Thomas, P.j., Hinkebein, And Payne, JJ.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Payne, J., For The Court:

ANTHONY CULP, 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: 2/4/97

TRIAL JUDGE: HON. THOMAS T. GARDNER III

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: LEE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT

BY: BILLY L. GORE

DISTRICT ATTORNEY: JOHN R. YOUNG

NATURE OF THE CASE: CRIMINAL - FELONY

TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: CONVICTION FOR SALE OF COCAINE AND SENTENCE OF 25 YRS. IN CUSTODY OF MDOC.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The defendant, Anthony Culp, was indicted by the Lee County Grand Jury for the sale of a controlled substance, cocaine. On February 4, 1997, the defendant was tried and after the presentation of all the evidence, the jury found the defendant guilty. Thereafter, the defendant was sentenced to serve a term of twenty-five years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections as well as pay a fine of one thousand dollars plus costs of the court. Post trial motions were filed but denied. Feeling aggrieved by his conviction, the defendant appeals. After a review of the record and the law, we affirm the conviction below.

FACTS

Undercover officer Paul Mills and confidential informant Phil Jernigan approached the defendant in an unmarked vehicle. The confidential informant was present during the transaction. Officer Mills noted that the individual at the defendant's table was in fact the individual he viewed and spoke with that night concerning the purchase of crack. Officer Mills stated that, "[M]r. Culp walked over to me and asked me if the -- if I got what I wanted and if it was good enough and the next time that I did not have to see anybody, just come to him."

Prior to trial, the confidential informant was disclosed to the defense. This confidential informant was personally served with a witness subpoena for appearance at trial by defense counsel. This confidential informant did not make an appearance at trial. Consequently, the defense announced that it was unable to move forward. Despite this announcement, the court instructed the defense to proceed.

During jury selection, the State exercised four peremptory challenges against members of the venire who were black. The defense objected. However, the State argued to the satisfaction of the court that its strikes were executed on a race-neutral basis.

ISSUES ON APPEAL

I. WHETHER THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT SUSTAINING THE DEFENDANT'S OBJECTIONS TO THE STATE'S EXERCISE OF FOUR (4) OF ITS PEREMPTORY CHALLENGES IN VIOLATION OF BATSON V. ...


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