Before Bridges, C.j., Mcmillin, And Thomas, P.jj.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Bridges, C.j., For The Court:
Leland v. State, 97-KA-00304-COA
THIS OPINION IS NOT DESIGNATED FOR PUBLICATION AND MAY NOT BE CITED, PURSUANT TO M.R.A.P. 35-B
DATE OF JUDGMENT: 2/13/97
TRIAL JUDGE: HON. ANDREW CLEVELAND BAKER
COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: PANOLA COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT
NATURE OF THE CASE: CRIMINAL - FELONY
TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: CONVICTED OF POSSESSION OF COCAINE AND SENTENCED TO 3 YRS., 1 SUSPENDED.
MOTION FOR REHEARING FILED:
Trail Marquest Leland was convicted in the Circuit Court of Panola County of possession of cocaine and was sentenced to a term of three years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections with one year suspended and running consecutively to a prior sentence being served. Aggrieved, Leland appeals raising the following issues: 1) that the court erred in denying his motion to dismiss for failing to provide him with a speedy trial, 2) that the court erred in failing to sustain his objection to testimony elicited by the district attorney concerning his past dealings with the police department, and 3) that the court erred in denying his motion for a directed verdict of acquittal at the Conclusion of the case. Finding no merit to the issues raised, we affirm.
On September 24, 1995, a Batesville police officer, Jimmy Anthony, was patrolling when a man named Cedric Harrell provided him with information to be on the lookout for two individuals, Trail Leland and Tyrone Ellis. Officer Anthony found the two individuals outside Ellis's house and asked them to come over to his patrol car. As they approached, Leland placed his hands in his pockets. The officer told Leland to remove his hands from his pockets, and as he did, a red object fell to the ground. The officer testified that as he patted down Ellis, Leland ran away. The officer asked for permission to come into the yard and pick up the object Leland dropped on the ground. The officer picked up a red, white, and blue Domino matchbox that contained a white substance which was later identified as cocaine. Leland returned to the front yard, and Officer Anthony told him he was under arrest. The officer stated that Leland ran away. Leland was later arrested and convicted of possession of cocaine.
ARGUMENT AND DISCUSSION OF LAW
I. WHETHER THE COURT ERRED IN DENYING THE DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS DUE TO A VIOLATION OF THE DEFENDANT'S CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO A SPEEDY TRIAL, AND THE DEFENDANT'S STATUTORY RIGHT TO BE TRIED WITHIN 270 DAYS OF ARRAIGNMENT.
a. Constitutional Right to a Speedy Trial
The Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article 3, § 26 of the Mississippi Constitution of 1890 guarantees that "[i]n all criminal prosecutions the accused shall have a right to... a speedy and public trial." Leland's constitutional guarantee to a speedy trial attached at the time he was arrested. Smith v. State , 550 So. 2d 406, 408 (Miss. 1989); Bailey v. State , 463 So. 2d 1059, 1062 (Miss. 1985); Perry v. State , 419 So. 2d 194, 198 (Miss. 1982). This right exists separately from the statutory right to a speedy trial. Bailey , 463 So. 2d at 1062; Perry , 419 So. 2d at 198. Once this right has attached this Court will follow the test laid out by the United States Supreme Court in Barker v. Wingo , 407 U.S. 514, 515 (1972) for the determination of a violation of the right to a speedy trial.
In Barker the Court promulgated a balancing test delineating four factors that we must weigh when a defendant asserts a constitutional speedy trial violation. Each factor is to be considered on an individual basis. The Court stated:
We regard none of the four factors... as either a necessary or sufficient condition to the finding of a deprivation of the right of speedy trial. Rather, they are related factors and must be considered together with such other circumstances as may be relevant. In sum, these factors have no talismanic qualities; courts must still engage in a difficult and sensitive balancing process. But, because we are dealing with a fundamental right of the accused, this process must be carried out with full recognition that the accused's interest in a speedy trial is specifically affirmed in the Constitution.
The factors set out by the United States Supreme Court are: (1) the length of the delay; (2) the reason for the delay; (3) whether the defendant asserted his right to a speedy trial; and (4) whether the defendant has been prejudiced by the delay. Id. No one factor is, in itself, dispositive. Bailey , 463 So. 2d at 1062. Rather, the factors must be considered and assessed, objectively and dispassionately, then weighed and balanced together. Flores v. State , 574 So. 2d 1314, 1322 (Miss. 1990); Trotter v. State , 554 So. 2d 313, 316 (Miss. 1989); Kinzey v. State , 498 So. 2d 814, 816 (Miss. 1986)
The first factor under Barker operates as a "triggering mechanism." Smith v. State , 550 So. 2d 406, 408 (Miss. 1989). For purposes of Leland's constitutional speedy trial claim, the delay is calculated from the date of arrest. Flores v. State , 574 So. 2d 1314, 1322 (Miss. 1990). For Leland, the time between arrest and trial was approximately 470 days (or about fifteen months). In Smith v. State , 550 So. 2d 406, 408 (Miss. 1989), the Mississippi Supreme Court held "that any delay of eight (8) months or longer is presumptively prejudicial." This factor standing ...