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Washington v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

February 18, 2014

CORTEZ D. WASHINGTON A/K/A CORTEZ WASHINGTON, APPELANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, APPELLEE

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: HINDS COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 04/09/2012. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. WILLIAM A. GOWAN JR. TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: CONVICTED OF ONE COUNT OF ARMED ROBBERY AND SENTENCED TO TWENTY-FIVE YEARS IN THE CUSTODY OF THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, WITH TEN YEARS SUSPENDED AND FIVE YEARS OF SUPERVISED PROBATION.

FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER, BY: MOLLIE MARIE MCMILLIN.

FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, BY: LADONNA C. HOLLAND.

BEFORE GRIFFIS, P.J., ROBERTS AND FAIR, JJ. LEE, C.J., IRVING AND GRIFFIS, P.JJ., BARNES, ISHEE, CARLTON, MAXWELL, FAIR AND JAMES, JJ., CONCUR.

NATURE OF THE CASE: CRIMINAL - FELONY

ROBERTS, J.

[¶1] In the Circuit Court of Hinds County, a jury found Cortez Washington guilty of one count of armed robbery. Washington was sentenced to twenty-five years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC), with ten years suspended and five years of supervised probation. The circuit court denied Washington's post-trial motion, and Washington filed the present appeal.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

[¶2] On the night of January 4, 2010, two men dressed in all-black clothing entered a Waffle House in Jackson, Mississippi. Upon entering the restaurant, one man displayed a handgun and demanded money from the cash register and safe. Waffle House employees did not have the safe's combination, so the men took the money from the cash register and left the restaurant.

Page 881

[¶3] There were several eyewitnesses to the crime. Freda Austin, a Waffle House employee, informed police that she had gone to high school with the man carrying the gun. She identified him as " Mook," and he was later determined to be Washington. Another eyewitness testified that he saw Washington drop the hat he was wearing as the men fled the restaurant. Police were able to recover the hat, and DNA samples collected from it matched samples taken from Washington.

[¶4] Washington was indicted for two separate counts of armed robbery, the first having occurred on January 4, 2010, and the second on January 18, 2010. After hearing testimony from the eyewitnesses and other evidence linking Washington to the crimes, the jury convicted Washington on one count of armed robbery that occurred on January 4, 2010. The circuit court declared a mistrial as to the second count stemming from an incident on January 18, 2010. Washington was sentenced to serve twenty-five years in the custody of the MDOC, with ten years suspended and five years of supervised probation. Washington filed a motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict or, alternatively, for a new trial; the circuit court denied the motion.

[¶5] Washington filed the present appeal. His appellate counsel submitted a Lindsey brief, which is a " brief in which counsel, after detailing the facts and procedural history, certified he had diligently scoured the record but could find no arguable issues for appeal." Moore v. State, 119 So.3d 1116, 1117 (P2) (Miss. Ct.App. 2013) (citing Lindsey v. State, 939 So.2d 743, 748 (P18) (Miss. 2005)).

ANALYSIS

[¶6] The Mississippi Supreme Court has implemented a five-step procedure to follow in cases where appellate counsel represents an indigent criminal defendant, and appellate counsel does not believe the client's case presents any arguable issues on appeal. Linds ...


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