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Johnson v. State

December 18, 1998

REGINALD TORLENTUS JOHNSON APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE



Before McMILLIN, P.j., Coleman, And Southwick, JJ.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: McMILLIN, P.j.,

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 09/11/96

TRIAL JUDGE: HON. JAMES E. GRAVES JR.

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: HINDS COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT

NATURE OF THE CASE: CRIMINAL - FELONY

TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: MURDER: SENTENCED TO SERVE A TERM OF LIFE IN THE CUSTODY OF THE MDOC

DISPOSITION: AFFIRMED - 12/18/98

¶1. Reginald Johnson has appealed his conviction of murder in the shooting death of William Charleston. He raises three issues on appeal. First, he alleges that the State engaged in a pattern of peremptorily striking black venire members based solely on considerations of race in violation of the United States Supreme Court decision in Batson v. Kentucky. Second, he claims that the trial court erred in permitting a pathologist to give expert medical testimony that was beyond the witness's level of expertise. Third, he points out that he was denied a jury instruction telling the jury that he had no duty to retreat in the face of aggression and claims that this effectively destroyed his ability to defend on his theory of self-defense. We find these issues without merit and affirm the conviction.

I.

Facts

¶2. Evidence presented by the State through a number of witnesses indicated that Johnson confronted Charleston with an allegation that Charleston had stolen Johnson's bicycle. After a heated exchange, Johnson drew a pistol and fired six shots into Charleston, most of them striking Charleston from the rear as Charleston attempted to walk away from the confrontation. A pathologist testified that Charleston died as a direct result of these multiple gunshot wounds.

II.

The First Issue: The Batson Challenge

ΒΆ3. After the State had exercised all six of its peremptory challenges to remove blacks from consideration for jury service, the defense raised the issue that the State was exercising its strikes in a discriminatory fashion to systematically exclude these black venire members solely on the basis of race. The State countered that the facts did not establish a prima facie case of discriminatory intent in its exercise of the permitted peremptory challenges. Rather than decide that threshold issue, the trial court simply directed the ...


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