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Brown v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

February 28, 2017

JAVON BROWN A/K/A JAVON M. BROWN APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          DATE 01/13/2016

         COURT FROM CLAY COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. LEE SORRELS COLEMAN JUDGE.

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY: MOLLIE MARIE MCMILLIN GEORGE T. HOLMES

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: ABBIE EASON KOONCE JASON L. DAVIS

          DISTRICT ATTORNEY: SCOTT COLOM

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

          GREENLEE, J.

         ¶1. This is an appeal from Clay County Circuit Court where Javon Brown was convicted of three counts of armed robbery and sentenced as a habitual offender under Mississippi Code Annotated section 99-19-83 (Rev. 2015) to serve three consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole, suspension, or early release. On appeal, Brown asserts the circuit court erred by allowing him to be sentenced as a habitual offender under section 99-19-83 when the proof submitted did not reflect that he had actually served at least one year's imprisonment for two prior felony convictions. Because section 99-19-83 requires the defendant to have actually served at least one year's imprisonment for at least two prior felony convictions, with at least one of the convictions being for a crime of violence; the proof submitted below did not show these requirements were met; and the State concedes the same on appeal, we reverse and remand the decision of the circuit court on the issue of sentencing for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. We affirm in part as to Brown's convictions for armed robbery.

         FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS BELOW

         ¶2. On April 8, 2011, Brown was indicted on three counts of armed robbery-among other things-in violation of Mississippi Code Annotated section 97-3-79 (Rev. 2014).[1] On January 17, 2014, the State moved to amend Brown's indictment to include habitual-offender language under Mississippi Code Annotated section 99-19-83, and the court did amend the indictment to reflect the same by its order on January 21, 2014. On January 13, 2016, Brown was found guilty on all three counts of armed robbery. Immediately after the reading of the verdict and the jury was finally excused, the court sentenced Brown to three consecutive life sentences to be served without the possibility of parole, early release, or earned time, in accordance with section 99-19-83.

         ¶3. Brown moved for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict or, in the alternative, a new trial, which was denied. Brown appeals to this Court.

         DISCUSSION

         ¶4. On appeal, the critical issue is whether the State presented sufficient evidence to show that Brown was a habitual offender under section 99-19-83. The State concedes that there was not sufficient evidence and that the circuit court's sentence should be reversed, and the case remanded for resentencing.

         ¶5. The critical inquiry in addressing a challenge to the sufficiency of evidence "is whether the evidence shows beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused committed the act charged, and that he did so under such circumstances that every element of the offense existed; and where the evidence fails to meet this test it is insufficient to support a conviction." Bush v. State, 895 So.2d 836, 843 (¶16) (Miss. 2005) (quoting Carr v. State, 208 So.2d 886, 889 (Miss. 1968)). "The relevant question is whether, after viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, any rational trier of ...


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