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Mitchell v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

March 17, 2015

RODNEY WAYNE MITCHELL A/K/A RODNEY MITCHELL, APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, APPELLEE

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: JONES COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 11/15/2013. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. BILLY JOE LANDRUM. TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: CONVICTED OF FELONY SHOPLIFTING AND SENTENCED TO TEN YEARS, WITH TWO YEARS SUSPENDED AND EIGHT YEARS TO SERVE IN THE CUSTODY OF THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS.

FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER, BY: ERIN E. PRIDGEN.

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

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

OPINION

Page 1076

NATURE OF THE CASE: CRIMINAL - FELONY

ISHEE, J.

[¶1] In 2013, Rodney Wayne Mitchell was convicted in the Jones County Circuit Court of felony shoplifting. He was sentenced to ten years, with two years suspended and eight years to serve in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC). Aggrieved, Mitchell now appeals, claiming the evidence was insufficient to prove that the value of the goods stolen met the minimum monetary requirement for felony shoplifting. Finding no error, we affirm.

STATEMENT OF FACTS

[¶2] On March 5, 2013, Officer Malcolm Bounds, with the Laurel Police Department, observed Mitchell in a vehicle with Christy Yanacek. Officer Bounds was aware of an arrest warrant on Yanacek and pulled over Mitchell's vehicle. Upon doing so, Officer Bounds discovered numerous items in the trunk of Mitchell's vehicle hidden underneath a blanket. Officer Bounds questioned Mitchell regarding the items, but Mitchell was unable to provide a receipt or an explanation for his possession of the goods.

[¶3] Concerned with the legality of Mitchell's acquisition of the goods, Officer Bounds contacted Rham Patrick Singh, the asset-protection manager for the local Wal-Mart. After some investigation, Singh confirmed that the goods had been stolen from the store. Singh also identified Mitchell as the thief after observing him on the store's video-surveillance tapes taking most of the items and leaving the store without paying for them.

[¶4] Shortly thereafter, Mitchell was charged with felony shoplifting. At the trial on the matter, Singh testified regarding the contents of the surveillance tapes. Several of the clips from the surveillance tapes were also shown to the jury. Singh stated that the first video record of Mitchell from the day in question showed Mitchell in the store with many items in his shopping cart -- all of which Officer Bounds later recovered in Mitchell's vehicle. Singh testified that the tapes then recorded Mitchell placing numerous other items, which were also later recovered, into his shopping cart, exiting the store without paying for them, putting the items in his vehicle, and driving away.

[¶5] After a short deliberation, the jury returned a guilty verdict. Mitchell was sentenced to ten years in the MDOC's custody. The circuit judge suspended two years of the sentence and ordered that the remaining eight years be served. Aggrieved, Mitchell now appeals, claiming that the evidence was insufficient to prove that the amount of goods stolen equaled $500 or more, as required by the felony-shoplifting statute. As such, Mitchell ...


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