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Miller v. State

December 18, 1998

CARL EUGENE MILLER, JR. APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE



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

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

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 10/18/96

TRIAL JUDGE: HON. JOHN H. WHITFIELD

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: HARRISON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT

NATURE OF THE CASE: CRIMINAL - FELONY

TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: MANSLAUGHTER: SENTENCED TO 20 YRS, WITH 5 YRS SUSPENDED, LEAVING 15 YRS TO SERVE IN THE CUSTODY OF THE MDOC; UPON RELEASE THE DEFENDANT IS TO SERVE 5 YRS PROBATION WITH THE MDOC

DISPOSITION: REVERSED AND REMANDED -12/18/98

¶1. Carl Miller was convicted of manslaughter in the death of Levi Tanner and has appealed to this Court citing six issues for our consideration. We find one of the issues to have merit and reverse and remand this conviction for further proceedings.

I.

Facts

¶2. Miller and several friends became involved in a confrontation with Tanner and a number of his friends over the circumstances surrounding the arrest of the sister of one of Tanner's companions. Testimony offered by the State showed that Miller, suddenly and without apparent provocation, struck Tanner a blow with his fist. The blow landed on Tanner's neck, injuring his spinal cord and causing his almost instantaneous death. Miller was indicted for involuntary manslaughter under Section 97-3-47 of the Mississippi Code of 1972 and convicted by a Harrison County Circuit Court jury. This appeal ensued. Miller's fourth issue raised in his brief involves the trial court's failure to grant his requested self-defense instruction. Because we consider this issue to have merit, we will consider it first.

II.

Instruction on Self-Defense

ΒΆ3. Miller raises as an issue on appeal the fact that the trial court refused his requested Instruction D-7, which he asserted to be a self-defense instruction. (The full text of the instruction is quoted in Appendix A to this opinion.) Miller argues that his sole defense to the case was self-defense and the trial court's decision to refuse him this instruction denied him a fundamentally fair trial since he was unable to have the jury instructed on the law that was critical to his ...


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