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Wade v. State

December 18, 1998

DEANNA WADE APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE



Before Bridges, C.j., Hinkebein, And King, JJ.

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

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 02/04/97

TRIAL JUDGE: HON. LAMAR PICKARD

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: CLAIBORNE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT

NATURE OF THE CASE: CRIMINAL - FELONY

TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: CONVICTED OF MURDER AND SENTENCED TO LIFE IN THE CUSTODY OF THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS

DISPOSITION: REVERSED AND REMANDED WITH INSTRUCTIONS - 12/18/98

¶1. Deanna Wade (Wade) was convicted February 4, 1997 in the Circuit Court of Claiborne County of the murder of her boyfriend/business partner Ralph Simpson (Simpson). Wade was sentenced to serve a term of life imprisonment in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections. Since Mississippi has abolished parole for crimes occurring after June, 30, 1995, pursuant to Miss. Code Ann. § 47-7- 3(1)(g) (Rev. 1993 & Supp. 1998), Wade's sentence precluded any possibility for parole. Aggrieved by her conviction, she appeals to this Court on the following grounds:

I. THE EVIDENCE IS INSUFFICIENT TO DEMONSTRATE BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT THAT THE DEFENDANT DID NOT ACT IN SELF- DEFENSE, AND SHE THEREFORE IS GUILTY OF NEITHER MURDER NOR MANSLAUGHTER.

II. THE EVIDENCE IS INSUFFICIENT TO SUPPORT A CONVICTION FOR MURDER BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT AND AT THE MOST, THE DEFENDANT IS GUILTY ONLY OF MANSLAUGHTER.

III. EVEN IF THIS COURT DOES NOT REVERSE IN WHOLE OR IN PART BECAUSE OF THE INSUFFICIENCY OF THE EVIDENCE, IT SHOULD AT LEAST GRANT A NEW TRIAL.

IV. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED BY PRECLUDING THE DEFENSE FROM PRESENTING CERTAIN EVIDENCE REGARDING THE VICTIM'S REPUTATION FOR VIOLENCE.

V. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED BY PRECLUDING THE DEFENSE FROM PRESENTING CERTAIN EVIDENCE REGARDING SPECIFIC ACTS OF THE VICTIM SHOWING HIS PROPENSITY TO VIOLENCE TOWARD THE DEFENDANT.

VI. BECAUSE THE JURY INSTRUCTION DID NOT REQUIRE THE JURY TO FIND ALL OF THE ELEMENTS OF MURDER, THE CONVICTION MUST BE REVERSED.

VII. THE TRIAL JUDGE ERRED IN RESTRICTING THE DEFENSE CROSS- EXAMINATION OF A PROSECUTION WITNESS.

VIII.THE PROSECUTOR ENGAGED IN MISCONDUCT BY ERRONEOUSLY DEFINING THE CONCEPT OF REASONABLE DOUBT TO THE VENIRE, THUS PREJUDICING THE DEFENDANT'S RIGHT TO A FAIR TRIAL.

We hold Wade's second assignment of error to have merit. While the evidence presented does not support a conviction of murder, we find it does support the lesser charge of manslaughter. Accordingly we reverse and ...


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