KEITH LEON JOHNSON A/K/A KEITH L. JOHNSON A/K/A KEITH JOHNSON APPELLANT
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE
OF JUDGMENT: 12/16/2015
COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. VERNON R. COTTEN TRIAL 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: MARK SHELDON DUNCAN.
LEE, C.J., ISHEE AND GREENLEE, JJ.
This is an appeal from Newton County Circuit Court where
Keith Leon Johnson was convicted of felony fleeing in a motor
vehicle from a law-enforcement officer and sentenced as a
habitual offender to five years' incarceration with the
Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC), without the
possibility of early release. On appeal, Johnson asserts the
circuit court erred in finding there was probable cause for
the stop and in denying his lesser-included-offense jury
instruction on reckless driving. Finding no error, we affirm.
AND PROCEEDINGS BELOW
On Monday, June 2, 2014, at approximately 1:40 p.m., Officer
Clay Garvin of the Decatur Police Department initiated a
traffic stop of a vehicle for failing to signal a
turn.After the vehicle came to a complete stop,
Officer Garvin approached, and the driver identified himself
as Johnson. While Johnson was retrieving his proof of
insurance and transcribing his social-security
number,  Officer Garvin observed what appeared to
be a box of alcohol and a white powdery substance in the back
seat of Johnson's vehicle. Officer Garvin asked Johnson
if the box contained alcohol, and Johnson confirmed that it
did. Officer Garvin asked what the white powdery substance
was on his back seat and Johnson stated that it was baby
powder. Officer Johnson returned to his patrol car to verify
Johnson's information, check the vehicle's
registration, and request backup.
After confirming Johnson's information and backup had
arrived, Officer Garvin returned to Johnson's vehicle. He
informed Johnson that it was illegal to possess alcohol in
Newton County as it is a dry county and that he suspected
Johnson of possessing illegal narcotics based on the white
powder across Johnson's back seat and because he had
previously arrested Johnson for cocaine. Officer Garvin
requested that Johnson step out of the vehicle. As Officer
Garvin was attempting to open Johnson's driver door,
Johnson fled from the officers on scene, and Officer Garvin
and other law-enforcement officers gave chase to Johnson as
he exceeded 120 miles per hour through traffic, crossing a
double-yellow line multiple times. Shortly after, Johnson
abandoned his attempted flight, stopped his vehicle, and was
On September 29, 2014, Johnson was indicted as a habitual
offender on one count of fleeing in a motor vehicle from a
law-enforcement officer in violation of Mississippi Code
Annotated section 97-9-72(2) (Rev. 2014). On December 16,
2015, a jury trial was held, and Johnson was found guilty and
sentenced as a habitual offender to five years'
incarceration in the custody of the MDOC. Johnson moved for a
judgment notwithstanding the verdict or, in the alternative,
a new trial, which was denied. Johnson appeals to this Court.
On appeal, Johnson asserts the circuit court erred because
(1) Officer Garvin had no probable cause for his stop of
Johnson, and (2) it denied his lesser-included-offense
instruction when the evidence supported a ...