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Sykes v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

October 7, 2014

EARNEST SYKES A/K/A ERNEST SYKES, APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, APPELLEE

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: CLAY COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 01/25/2013. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. LEE J. HOWARD. TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: MOTION FOR POST-CONVICTION RELIEF DISMISSED.

EARNEST SYKES, APPELLANT, Pro se.

FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, BY: LISA L. BLOUNT.

BEFORE LEE, C.J., BARNES AND FAIR, JJ. LEE, C.J., IRVING AND GRIFFIS, P.JJ., ISHEE, ROBERTS, CARLTON, MAXWELL AND FAIR, JJ., CONCUR. JAMES, J., CONCURS IN PART WITHOUT SEPARATE WRITTEN OPINION.

OPINION

Page 678

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - POST-CONVICTION RELIEF

BARNES, J.

¶1. Earnest Sykes, appearing pro se, appeals the Clay County Circuit Court's dismissal of his motion for post-conviction relief (PCR). Finding no error, we affirm.

STATEMENT OF THE FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶2. In April 1993, Sykes pleaded guilty in the Clay County Circuit Court to the sale of crack cocaine. At the plea hearing, Sykes admitted to three prior convictions in Clay County for burglary when he was nineteen years old. Certified copies of the indictments and sentencing orders were entered into evidence to prove Sykes was a habitual offender. In exchange for Sykes's guilty plea, the prosecution retired three other sale-of-a-controlled-substance charges pending against Sykes. The trial court sentenced Sykes to thirty years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections as a habitual offender under Mississippi Code Annotated section 99-19-81 (Rev. 2007).

¶3. In November 2012, Sykes filed his current PCR motion,[1] arguing the United States Supreme Court's decision of Bullcoming v. New Mexico, 131 S.Ct. 2705, 180 L.Ed.2d 610 (2011), is an intervening decision that excepts his PCR motion from the three-year time-bar. Specifically, Sykes argues that under Bullcoming, the State is required to produce testimony from the person who certified the documents used to prove his prior convictions for habitual-offender status. Since this testimony was not provided, Sykes claims his rights under the Federal Constitution's Sixth Amendment Confrontation Clause were violated and his sentence should be vacated. The trial court disagreed, ruling that Bullcoming was not an intervening decision, nor was it applicable on the merits. Sykes's PCR motion was dismissed as time-barred. Sykes timely appealed.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

¶4. " In reviewing the trial court's dismissal of a motion for post-conviction relief, this Court will not disturb the trial court's factual findings unless they are found to be clearly erroneous." Whatley v. State, 123 So.3d 461, 466 (¶ 6) (Miss.Ct.App. 2013) (citing Williams v. State, 872 So.2d 711, 712 (¶ 2) ...


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