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Robinson v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

April 8, 2014

SCOOTER L. ROBINSON A/K/A SCOOTER LYNN ROBINSON A/K/A SCOOTER ROBINSON, APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, APPELLEE

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: HANCOCK COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 06/07/2012. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. JOHN C. GARGIULO. TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: CONVICTED OF COUNT I, FAILURE TO STOP A MOTOR VEHICLE, AND COUNT II, AGGRAVATED ASSAULT ON A PEACE OFFICER, AND SENTENCED ON EACH COUNT AS A HABITUAL OFFENDER TO LIFE WITHOUT ELIGIBILITY FOR PAROLE OR PROBATION, WITH THE SENTENCES TO RUN CONCURRENTLY, ALL IN THE CUSTODY OF THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS.

FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER, BY: W. DANIEL HINCHCLIFF, GEORGE T. HOLMES, CYNTHIA DIANNE BURNEY.

FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, BY: JEFFREY A. KLINGFUSS.

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

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NATURE OF THE CASE: CRIMINAL - FELONY

BARNES, J.

[¶1] On January 17, 2009, Scooter L. Robinson escaped from police custody in Pearl River County, Mississippi. Local law enforcement agencies were notified of Robinson's escape and worked together to determine his whereabouts. The Mississippi Highway Patrol (MHP) encountered Robinson on the highway and a high-speed pursuit followed. Robinson eventually pulled over, but when Trooper Paul Fernandez asked Robinson (the driver) to step out the car, he sped off. Trooper Fernandez notified local law enforcement of Robinson's location, and they set up a roadblock. Approaching the roadblock and still in high-speed pursuit, MHP rammed Robinson's car in an attempt to stop the vehicle.

[¶2] When Robinson attempted to go around the roadblock, law enforcement shot at the car's tires in order to disable the vehicle. A deputy with the Pearl River County Sheriff's Department, Donnie Saucier, approached the vehicle. Initially, he went to the passenger side and shot into the front-right tire. Deputy Saucier then went to the driver's side, calling Robinson by name and warning him to stop. Robinson, however, was still trying to maneuver the car to escape. Deputy Saucier reached into the car and grabbed Robinson by his shirt, attempting to apprehend him. Robinson pulled the deputy partially into the vehicle, hit the accelerator, and began dragging the officer. Fearful for his life, Deputy Saucier fired a shot into Robinson's left thigh, and Robinson released him. Deputy Saucier fell to the pavement, sustaining " minor scrapes and bruises." Law enforcement continued to pursue Robinson, whose car now had four flat tires. Trooper Fernandez hit the vehicle again, and Robinson finally stopped and surrendered to authorities.

[¶3] On May 14, 2010, Robinson was indicted for failure to stop a motor vehicle upon signal by law enforcement and aggravated assault on a peace officer in violation of Mississippi Code Annotated sections 97-9-72(2) and 97-3-7(2) (Rev. 2006), respectively. The indictment was later amended at trial to reflect Robinson's habitual-offender status under Mississippi Code Annotated section 99-19-83 (Rev. 2007).[1] Prior

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to trial, various motions were addressed by the trial court. Robinson filed a motion for a continuance in order to retain new counsel, which the trial court denied. The trial judge also considered Robinson's motion to dismiss for lack of a speedy trial, based on the three-year delay between his arrest and the trial. The trial court concluded that Robinson suffered no prejudice as a result of the delay and denied the motion. After a jury trial on June 5-6, 2012, Robinson was convicted on both counts and received two concurrent life sentences as a habitual offender in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, without eligibility for parole or early release. After the trial court denied Robinson's motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict or, in the alternative, a new trial, Robinson filed a timely notice of appeal.

[¶4] The Mississippi Office of State Public Defender represents Robinson on appeal. Robinson's appellate attorney filed a brief pursuant to Lindsey v. State, 939 So.2d 743, 748 (¶ 18) (Miss. 2005), stating that there were no " arguable issues which could be presented to [this] Court on Scooter L. Robinson's behalf[.]" Counsel also submitted a motion for additional time to be given in order to provide Robinson an opportunity to file a pro se brief. This motion was granted, and Robinson was given until January 28, 2013, to file his pro se brief. On January 28, 2013, Robinson filed a motion for additional time to file his brief. Robinson's motion was granted, and Robinson filed his pro se appellant's brief on March 28, 2013, raising several issues.

DISCUSSION

[¶5] Under the requirements set forth in Lindsey, if counsel for the appellant finds no arguable issues on appeal, he is responsible for filing a brief stating that he has thoroughly reviewed the record and has found nothing to support an appeal. Lindsey, 939 So.2d at 748 (¶ 18). Counsel must then send the defendant a copy of the brief, informing the client that counsel found no arguable issue for an appeal, and advise the client of his right to file a pro se brief. Id. " If the defendant raises any arguable issue in his pro se brief, or if the appellate court finds any arguable issues upon its independent review of the record, the appellate court must, if circumstances warrant, require counsel to file supplemental briefing on the issue." Jackson v. State, 121 So.3d 313, 317 (¶ 4) (Miss. Ct.App. 2013) (citing Lindsey, 939 So.2d at 748 (¶ 18)).

[¶6] In the present case, Robinson's appellate attorney filed a brief indicating that he had " diligently searched the procedural and factual history of this criminal action and scoured the record, searching for any arguable issues" that could be presented in good faith, but found none. Counsel asserted that he examined: (1) the reason for Robinson's arrest and the circumstances surrounding his arrest; (2) possible violations of Robinson's right to counsel; (3) the trial transcript; ...


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