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Ramer v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

September 9, 2014

JEFFERY RAMER A/K/A JEFFREY RAMER, APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, APPELLEE

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: TIPPAH COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 03/11/2013. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. ROBERT WILLIAM ELLIOTT. TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: CONVICTED OF BURGLARY AND SENTENCED, AS A HABITUAL OFFENDER, TO SEVEN YEARS IN THE CUSTODY OF THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, WITHOUT ELIGIBILITY FOR PAROLE OR PROBATION.

FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER, BY: GEORGE T. HOLMES, PHILLIP BROADHEAD.

FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, BY: LAURA HOGAN TEDDER.

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

OPINION

Page 920

ROBERTS, J.

¶1. A jury sitting before the Tippah County Circuit Court found Jeffery Ramer guilty of burglary. The circuit court found that Ramer qualified for sentencing as a habitual offender under Mississippi Code Annotated section 99-19-81 (Rev. 2007). Accordingly, the circuit court sentenced Ramer to seven years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC). Aggrieved, Ramer appeals[1] and argues that the circuit court erred when it allowed the prosecution to introduce improper opinion evidence from lay witnesses. Ramer also claims that there is insufficient evidence to support his conviction for burglary. Finally, Ramer claims that the jury's verdict is contrary to the overwhelming weight of the evidence. Finding no error, we affirm.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶2. Ramer's conviction stems from the burglary of Greg Isom's tire shop in Ripley, Mississippi. Isom rented a building approximately five feet from his shop to Walter Boyd, who used the building to fix tires and perform mechanic work. Boyd hired Ramer, who also lived in some of the space that Boyd rented from Isom.

¶3. One morning during July 2011, Isom arrived at his shop and discovered that a wooden panel covering a hole formerly occupied by an air-conditioning unit was missing. The hole was approximately seven to eight feet off of the ground, and it was in a wall in the back of his shop. Isom then noticed that some of his merchandise

Page 921

was also missing. To be specific, two speakers and an amplifier were gone. Two or three days earlier, Ramer had said that he wanted the merchandise. Isom and his employee, Gary Barnes, noticed that a wooden panel was missing from the outside of the shop. Isom and Barnes went behind the shop, where they found Ramer. Ramer denied that he had seen anyone in the area. When Isom and Barnes went to the other side of the shop, they saw footprints in the wet earth. There was also a clearly distinguishable footprint close to the missing panel.

¶4. Isom and Barnes then went back to the area where Ramer was working on a car. Isom noticed a crowbar near Ramer. According to Isom, the crowbar had chips of paint on it. The paint chips looked similar to paint on the back of a locked metal door to his shop. Isom also noticed that someone had unsuccessfully attempted to pry open the metal door. There was a footprint on the metal door. Isom deduced that someone had tried to kick in the metal door. Isom asked Ramer to show him and Barnes the bottom of his shoes. Ramer complied. According to Isom and Barnes, the distinctive pattern on the bottom of Ramer's shoes looked identical to the footprints in the wet earth around the back of the shop and the footprint on the metal door. Afterward, Isom went into the shop and called the Ripley Police Department.

¶5. Detective Scott Watson responded. When Detective Watson went to look at the footprints, they had been partially smudged away. Even so, Detective Watson took pictures of the footprints, the bottom of Ramer's shoes, and the scene in general. He also seized the crowbar and gathered paint chips from the area around the metal door. At Boyd's request, Detective Watson did not take Ramer into custody at that time. Boyd told Detective Watson that if Isom did not object, he wanted to try to " work something out" with Ramer over the course of the weekend. However, Ramer did not show up for work the following Monday. ¶ 6. Ramer was later arrested and charged with burglary. He went to trial during mid-February 2013. The prosecution called Isom, Boyd, Barnes, and Detective Watson as witnesses. Ramer did not call any ...


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