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Epps v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

December 2, 2014

BOBBY EUGENE EPPS A/K/A BOBBY E. EPPS, APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, APPELLEE

Page 159

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: PANOLA COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 05/20/2013. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. JAMES MCCLURE III. TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: DENIED MOTION FOR POST-CONVICTION RELIEF.

BOBBY EUGENE EPPS, APPELLANT, Pro se.

FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, BY: BILLY L. GORE.

BEFORE IRVING, P.J., FAIR AND JAMES, JJ.

OPINION

Page 160

JAMES, J.

¶1. Bobby Eugene Epps pled guilty in the Panola County Circuit Court to manufacturing methamphetamine, as a habitual offender pursuant to Mississippi Code Annotated section 99-19-81 (Rev. 2007), and was sentenced to twenty-five years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC). Epps filed a motion for post-conviction relief (PCR), which the trial court denied. Aggrieved, Epps now appeals raising the following issues: (1) whether the trial court improperly sentenced him as a habitual offender pursuant to section 99-19-81; and (2) whether he was denied effective assistance of counsel. Finding no error, we affirm.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶2. On October 29, 2009, a Panola County grand jury returned a five-count indictment charging Epps with conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine, manufacture of methamphetamine, possession of precursors, possession of methamphetamine, and possession of marijuana. Epps was indicted as a habitual offender[1] pursuant to Mississippi Code Annotated section 99-19-83 (Rev. 2007).[2]

¶3. Epps entered into a plea agreement with the State. The terms of the agreement were reflected in a petition to enter a plea of guilty filed by Epps on January 22, 2010. Pursuant to the agreement, Epps agreed to plead guilty to count two of the indictment: manufacture of a controlled substance, methamphetamine. In exchange for his guilty plea to manufacturing methamphetamine, the State agreed to reduce Epps's habitual-offender status from section 99-19-83 to section 99-19-81.[3] The State also agreed to retire the remaining four charges of the indictment to the file.

¶4. On January 22, 2010, Epps pled guilty to manufacturing methamphetamine as a habitual offender pursuant to section 99-19-81. During the plea hearing, the following exchange occurred between the trial court, James Hale, representing the State, and David Walker, Epps's trial counsel:

Page 161

[Mr. Hale]: Your Honor, . . . Mr. Epps was originally indicted as a [section] 99-19-83 habitual offender. As part of this plea negotiation, we have agreed to reduce that to . . . [a] habitual offender under [section] 99-19-81. I would at this time offer his . . . five prior convictions, ...

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