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Ford v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

December 3, 2013

DARIUS CORNELIUS FORD A/K/A DARIUS FORD A/K/A DARIUS C. FORD A/K/A CORNELIUS FORD A/K/A POPCORN, APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, APPELLEE

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: SCOTT COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 02/08/2012. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. MARCUS D. GORDON. TRIAL COURT CONVICTED OF COUNT I, AGGRAVATED ASSAULT, AND SENTENCED, AS A HABITUAL OFFENDER, TO TWENTY YEARS; AND COUNT II, POSSESSION OF A FIREARM BY A CONVICTED FELON, AND SENTENCED, AS A HABITUAL OFFENDER, TO TEN YEARS, WITH THE SENTENCE IN COUNT II TO RUN CONSECUTIVELY TO THE SENTENCE IN COUNT I, ALL IN THE CUSTODY OF THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, WITHOUT ELIGIBILITY FOR PAROLE OR PROBATION.

DARIUS CORNELIUS FORD, APPELLANT, Pro se.

FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, BY: BILLY L. GORE.

BEFORE IRVING, P.J., ROBERTS AND JAMES, JJ. LEE, C.J., GRIFFIS, P.J., BARNES, ISHEE, ROBERTS, CARLTON, MAXWELL AND FAIR, JJ., CONCUR. JAMES, J., CONCURS IN PART WITHOUT SEPARATE WRITTEN OPINION.

OPINION

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NATURE OF THE CASE: CRIMINAL - FELONY

IRVING, P.J.

¶1. On February 8, 2012, a jury convicted Darius Cornelius Ford of aggravated assault and unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The Scott County Circuit Court sentenced Ford, as a habitual offender, to twenty years for the aggravated-assault conviction and to ten years for the possession-of-a-firearm conviction, with the sentence in Count II to run consecutively to the sentence in Count I, all in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, without eligibility for parole or probation.

¶2. Feeling aggrieved, Ford appeals and presents several issues for review. For the sake of discussion and clarity, Ford's issues have been restated and reordered below:

I. Whether the indictment properly charged Ford as a habitual offender.
II. Whether Ford was denied his right to a speedy trial.
III. Whether the State was required to produce the witness that certified the documents used to demonstrate Ford's prior convictions.
IV. Whether the circuit court erred in its reading of the Sharplin [1] instruction.
V. Whether the circuit court properly denied Ford's motions for a directed verdict and a new trial.
VI. Whether the circuit court committed cumulative error mandating reversal of Ford's conviction and sentence.

Finding no reversible error, we affirm.

FACTS

¶3. On January 11, 2010, Sanford Lackey, a real estate appraiser, was in rural Scott County, Mississippi, photographing several parcels of land along Highway 21. After taking photos of a vacant property, Lackey realized that he had photographed the wrong property. Lackey testified that he drove along the road looking for a place to turn around. He decided to turn around at an old convenience store on Highway 21. As he was turning around, he heard three gunshots. When he looked in the direction where he thought the shots were coming from, he saw a man exit a nearby mobile home and walk toward a gold sport-utility vehicle (SUV). Lackey noted that the man looked in his direction as he descended the steps of the mobile home. The man was wearing a blue sweatshirt and a rolled-up toboggan. Lackey continued along the road, searching for the correct property to photograph.

¶4. Lackey testified that after taking the correct photos, he pulled to the side of the road to input another address into his GPS. After setting the GPS, Lackey pulled back onto the road. At that time, he noticed the gold SUV from the mobile home approach his vehicle from behind at a high rate of speed. Lackey sped up. When the vehicle was approximately a car length away, the driver leaned out of the driver's side window, aimed a handgun, and shot through the rear windshield of Lackey's vehicle. Then, the gold SUV turned around and sped away from Lackey. He stated that he immediately called the Scott County Sheriff's Department and subsequently went to the sheriff's office. While at the sheriff's office, Lackey saw Ford as the law enforcement officers brought him into the station. Lackey later told the officers that Ford was the individual that shot at his vehicle.

¶5. Kevin Polk, an investigator with the Scott County Sheriff's Department, testified that he and several other officers responded

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to the call from dispatch regarding Lackey's incident. He and the other officers went to the vicinity of where the incident had occurred. At the first mobile home that the officers approached, they spoke with Jessica Adams, Ford's girlfriend. Adams told Investigator Polk that Ford had gone to pick up his children from school. Upon hearing this, Investigator Polk and an additional Scott County deputy left the mobile home to intercept Ford on his way back from the school. When Investigator Polk saw Ford's vehicle, he stopped Ford and told him that he needed him to come into the station for questioning. Investigator Polk also had Ford's vehicle towed to the sheriff's department.

¶6. Deputy Marcus Lingle, with the Scott County Sheriff's Department, testified that he participated in the search of Ford's mobile home once Adams gave the officers written consent to search. During the search, Deputy Lingle found a .40-caliber pistol on the bed and a box of ammunition. The officers also recovered " male clothing [that was] hanging [in] the closet." Deputy Lingle testified to finding " either a dark gray or blue sweatshirt" that " match[ed] a description of the upper garment worn by . . . the suspect . . . that day." Deputy Lingle stated that " [f]rom [the] time of [the] incident to the time [they] arrived at the property was an estimation of at least thirty minutes."

¶7. Adams testified that although the mobile home was in Ford's mother's name, Ford did not live there. She admitted that Ford was at the home on the day of the incident. According to Adams, she and Ford slept from approximately 9:00 a.m. until 2:40 p.m. on the day of the incident. Adams noted that the male clothing hanging in the closet did not belong to Ford. Also, Adams testified that the gun that Deputy Lingle found on the bed belonged to her, and that Ford did not know that she owned the gun.

¶8. Ford testified that he was just one of several men that Adams was seeing at that time. He insisted that he did not live with Adams in the mobile home; that he did not own a firearm because he knew that, as a convicted felon, he could not; and that he did not own a dark blue pullover or sweatshirt. Ford admitted that he was a convicted felon. He ...


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