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Mooney v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

December 10, 2013

Brian Wayne MOONEY a/k/a Brian M. Mooney a/k/a Brian Mooney a/k/a Bryan Mooney, Appellant
v.
STATE of Mississippi, Appellee.

Brian Wayne Mooney, appellant, pro se.

Office of the Attorney General by Scott Stuart, attorney for appellee.

Before GRIFFIS, P.J., ISHEE and CARLTON, JJ.

Page 146

ISHEE, J.

¶ 1. Brian Wayne Mooney pleaded guilty on May 26, 2011, in the Harrison County Circuit Court to two counts of driving under the influence (DUI), resulting in death and injury. He was sentenced to twenty years on each count to be served in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC), with the sentences to run concurrently. Subsequently, Mooney filed a motion to vacate his judgment and sentence. The circuit court, treating it as a motion for post-conviction relief (PCR), denied the motion. Mooney now appeals. Finding no error, we affirm.

STATEMENT OF FACTS

¶ 2. On May 23, 2008, Mooney was traveling southbound on Vidalia Road in Pass Christian, Mississippi. Lindsey Ladner (Lindsey) was driving in the northbound lane with passengers LaShae Necaise and Marcus Ladner (Marcus). As Mooney approached Lindsey, his car crossed the center line causing a head-on collision. Necaise was pronounced dead at the scene. Lindsey and Marcus were seriously injured.

¶ 3. A warrant to collect a sample of Mooney's blood was obtained later that day. The results of the blood test revealed that Mooney tested positive for cocaine and Soma, a narcotic. On June 17, 2008, an arrest warrant for Mooney was issued. Mooney was subsequently arrested by the Slidell Police Department in Slidell, Louisiana, on May 15, 2009. He was later extradited to Mississippi.

¶ 4. On May 26, 2011, Mooney pleaded guilty in the circuit court to two counts of DUI, resulting in death and injury. He was sentenced to twenty years for each count, with the sentences to run concurrently, all in the custody of the MDOC. Mooney filed a PCR motion on January 17, 2012, which he later moved to dismiss voluntarily. The circuit court dismissed the PCR motion, without prejudice, on May 23, 2013.

¶ 5. On July 16, 2012, Mooney filed a motion to vacate his judgment and sentence, which the circuit court treated as a PCR motion and denied. Aggrieved, Mooney appeals, arguing: (1) his counsel was ineffective, and, therefore, his pleas of guilty were involuntary; and (2) the trial court's denial of his motion to vacate his judgment and sentence was an abuse of discretion.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

¶ 6. A trial court's denial of a PCR motion will not be disturbed unless the decision was clearly erroneous. Bell v. State, 105 So.3d 401, 403 (¶ 5) (Miss.Ct.App.2012) (citing Smith v. State, 12 So.3d 563, 564 (¶ 4) (Miss.Ct.App.2009)). Questions of law are reviewed de novo. Id.

DISCUSSION

¶ 7. Mooney argues that the trial court erred in denying his PCR motion because he was denied effective assistance of counsel. Specifically, Mooney argues that his attorney: (1) failed to pursue a violation of his speedy-trial rights, (2) coerced his pleas of guilty, (3) failed to investigate and ...


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