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Williams v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

April 14, 2015

KENDALL WILLIAMS APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 10/31/2013

QUITMAN COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. JOHNNIE E. WALLS JR. TRIAL JUDGE

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY: HUNTER NOLAN AIKENS GEORGE T. HOLMES

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: STEPHANIE BRELAND WOOD

DISTRICT ATTORNEY: BRENDA FAY MITCHELL

BEFORE GRIFFIS, P.J., BARNES AND ISHEE, JJ.

GRIFFIS, P.J.

¶1. Kendall Williams appeals his conviction of possession of an unauthorized device in a correctional facility under Mississippi Code Annotated sections 47-5-193 and 47-5-195. Williams argues the trial court erred when it failed to conduct a hearing on the voluntariness of his written confession before admitting the statement into evidence. Finding the trial court erred, we reverse and remand.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶2. From June to August 2012, Williams was incarcerated in the Quitman County Jail on a child-support lock-up order. On August 7, 2012, Darryl Linzy, an officer with the Quitman County Sheriff's Department, went to Williams's cell when he smelled smoke and discovered that Williams and his cellmate possessed cigarettes and a lighter.

¶3. Officer Linzy confiscated the cigarettes and lighter. Officer Linzy then asked Williams and his cellmate if they had any other contraband in the cell. One or both of the men declared that a cell phone was on the bottom bunk. Officer Linzy found a black and grey cell phone on the bottom bunk. He questioned Williams about the phone.

¶4. Officer Linzy testified that he informed Williams of his Miranda[1] rights and obtained a valid waiver of his rights before he questioned Williams. During the interrogation, Williams gave Officer Linzy the cell-phone number of the phone found in the cell. Williams eventually gave an oral confession and claimed that he owned the phone. Officer Linzy reduced the confession to writing.

¶5. At trial, Officers Linzy and Willie Smith testified that an initial search of Williams on June 20, 2012, when he first entered the jail, revealed the same phone Officer Linzy found in the cell. Officer Smith testified that he took the phone from Williams and gave it to Williams's sister. Officers Linzy and Smith also testified that Williams left the jail on at least two separate occasions during his lock-up between June 20 and August 7.

ΒΆ6. During Officer Linzy's testimony, the State moved to introduce Williams's written statement into evidence. Williams objected and argued the defense did not receive a prior opportunity to cross-examine Officer Linzy, and the State failed to ...


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