DATE OF JUDGMENT: 09/12/2012.
COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: LEAKE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. VERNON R. COTTEN. TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: CONVICTED OF POSSESSION OF CONTRABAND IN A CORRECTIONAL FACILITY AND SENTENCED TO FIFTEEN YEARS IN THE CUSTODY OF THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, WITH FIVE YEARS SUSPENDED.
FOR APPELLANT: EDMUND J. PHILLIPS JR.
FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL, BY: LAURA H. TEDDER.
BEFORE GRIFFIS, P.J., ROBERTS AND CARLTON, JJ. LEE, C.J., IRVING, P.J., BARNES, ISHEE, ROBERTS, CARLTON, MAXWELL, FAIR AND JAMES, JJ., CONCUR.
NATURE OF THE CASE: CRIMINAL - FELONY
¶1. Carl A. Houston Jr. was convicted and sentenced for the possession of contraband in a correctional facility, pursuant to Mississippi Code Annotated section 47-5-193 (Rev. 2011). In this appeal, Houston argues that section 47-5-193 is unconstitutionally vague and that the court erred in sentencing him.
¶2. On March 3, 2012, Houston was incarcerated in Leake County Regional Correctional Facility. Antwon Pankey, a guard at the facility, searched Houston after he had completed his visitation with his girlfriend. Pankey felt something hard in the back pocket of Houston's pants, and he reached into Houston's pants pocket and pulled out a Subscriber Information Module (SIM) card, which is used in cellular phones. A SIM card is contraband under the facility's rules. Pankey took the SIM card and Houston to the booking officer, Jimmy Price. Price testified that Houston was a county inmate, and he had been at the facility since January 2012. Price placed the SIM card in an evidence envelope.
¶3. Houston denied the charges. Houston testified that he did not have a SIM card in his back pocket and that no one gave him a SIM card.
¶4. Houston was convicted for the possession of contraband while confined in the Leake County Regional Correctional Facility, in violation of section 47-5-193. It is from this judgment that Houston now appeals.
1. Due Process