SHIRLEY WARREN A/K/A SHIRLEY OLIVER WARREN A/K/A SHIRLEY NICHOLS WARREN A/K/A SHIRLEY OLIVER APPELLANT
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, APPELLEE
DATE OF JUDGMENT: 05/01/2013
WINSTON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT TRIAL JOSEPH H. LOPER JR.,
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: ANDY DAVIS
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: BILLY L. GORE
DISTRICT ATTORNEY: DOUG EVANS
BEFORE: IRVING, P.J., FAIR AND JAMES, JJ.
¶1. Shirley Warren was indicted by a Winston County grand jury on one count of possession of a controlled substance in a correctional facility pursuant to Mississippi Code Annotated section 47-5-198 (Rev. 2011). A jury trial was held in the Circuit Court of Winston County, resulting in a guilty verdict. Warren was sentenced to seven years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC), with four years suspended and five years of supervised probation. Warren appeals. Finding error, we reverse and remand the judgment.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
¶2. On June 9, 2012, Warren visited the Winston-Choctaw Regional Correctional Facility in Louisville, Mississippi. Upon checking in with the visitation officer, Warren was subjected to a search performed by Correctional Officer Theresa Carter. During the search of Warren's person, Carter discovered several medicine tablets concealed in the waistband of Warren's pants. It was later determined that the contraband consisted of four Lortab tablets and four Xanax tablets. Carter then summoned the warden of the correctional facility, Timothy Palmer, who placed Warren under arrest for introducing contraband into a correctional facility.
¶3. On September 26, 2012, the grand jury indicted Warren on one count of possession of a controlled substance in a correctional facility. Warren filed a motion to dismiss asserting that the indictment was defective and insufficient for failing to identify the controlled substances that Warren was alleged to have possessed. Warren also objected to the testimony of William Smith, the State's laboratory analyst, alleging that the State failed to provide Smith's curriculum vitae. Warren further objected to admission of any testing or analysis performed by the Columbus Forensic Laboratory, asserting that the laboratory was not certified by the State Crime Lab or the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors. The trial court denied Warren's motion.
¶4. A jury trial was held May 1, 2013. During the trial, Carter testified to discovering the contraband on Warren's person during a body search. Palmer testified that he took control of the contraband and placed Warren under arrest for introducing contraband into a correctional facility. Smith testified that the tablets were Lortab and Xanax and that both were controlled substances under Mississippi law. At the close of the State's case-in-chief, Warren moved for a directed verdict, asserting that the State failed to meet its burden of proof. The trial court denied the motion, and Warren rested without producing any witnesses in her defense.
¶5. The jury found Warren guilty of possession of a controlled substance in a correctional facility. Warren was sentenced to seven years in the custody of the MDOC, with four years suspended and five years of supervised probation. On May 6, 2013, Warren filed a motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV), or for a new trial, which the trial court denied.
¶6. Aggrieved, Warren appeals raising the following issues: (1) whether the trial court erred in denying her motion to dismiss due to the defective indictment; (2) whether the trial court erred in denying her motion to dismiss; (3) whether the State's expert witness was properly qualified under Mississippi Rule of Evidence 702; (4) whether the trial court erred in denying her motion for a directed verdict and/or her motion for a JNOV; and (5) whether she was denied her right to a fair trial due to the trial court's cumulative errors. We ...