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Jefferson v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

May 13, 2014

CLARENCE DWAYNE JEFFERSON A/K/A CLARENCE D. JEFFERSON A/K/A CLARENCE JEFFERSON, APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, APPELLEE

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: MARION COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 04/16/2013. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. PRENTISS GREENE HARRELL. TRIAL COURT CONVICTED OF FELONY DUI AND SENTENCED TO FIVE YEARS IN THE CUSTODY OF THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS AND ORDERED TO PAY A $1,000 FINE AND $3,500 TO THE MARION COUNTY PUBLIC DEFENDER'S FUND.

FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER, BY: BENJAMIN ALLEN SUBER.

FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, BY: MELANIE DOTSON THOMAS.

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

OPINION

Page 264

NATURE OF THE CASE: CRIMINAL - FELONY

FAIR, J.

¶1. Clarence Jefferson was stopped after attempting to avoid a late-night roadblock in Columbia, Mississippi. He consented to a blood test that revealed his blood-alcohol concentration was twice the legal limit. After a trial, Jefferson was convicted of felony DUI, his third DUI offense in a five-year period,[1] and the circuit court sentenced him to five years' imprisonment. Jefferson appeals, contending that the verdict was against the overwhelming weight of the evidence and that the prosecution committed a reversible discovery violation.

¶2. We find no error and affirm.

FACTS

¶3. At 2:15 a.m. on December 10, 2011, Jefferson was driving west on Highway 98 when he approached a safety checkpoint manned jointly by the Marion County Sheriff's Department and the Columbia Police Department. The officers motioned for Jefferson to stop, but he abruptly turned off the highway, without using his turn signal. A sheriff's deputy followed and, after observing Jefferson's vehicle swerving, stopped him. The officers immediately noticed the smell of an alcoholic beverage and observed that Jefferson's eyes were bloodshot and his speech slurred. The cap to a liquor bottle was seen on Jefferson's front passenger seat.

¶4. Jefferson eventually admitted he had " a few drinks" earlier that night, and a portable test confirmed the presence of alcohol on his breath. Jefferson failed two field sobriety tests, getting six of six indicators of impairment on one and six of eight on another. He was taken into custody and, after dithering for a while, consented to a blood test. The blood was extracted at a local hospital about one hour after Jefferson's vehicle was stopped. It was sent to the Mississippi Crime Lab for analysis, which showed Jefferson's blood-alcohol concentration to be 0.16%, twice the legal limit.[2]

DISCUSSION

1. Sufficiency of the Evidence


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