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Duck v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

April 11, 2017

WILLIE DUCK APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 08/21/2015

         COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: ADAMS COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, HON. FORREST A. JOHNSON JR. JUDGE

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY: W. DANIEL HINCHCLIFF

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: BARBARA WAKELAND BYRD

          DISTRICT ATTORNEY: RONNIE LEE HARPER

          BEFORE LEE, C.J., ISHEE AND GREENLEE, JJ.

          LEE, C.J.

         ¶1. Willie Duck was convicted in the Adams County Circuit Court of possession of more than two grams but less than ten grams of a controlled substance with intent to sell or distribute. After a bifurcated hearing, Duck was sentenced as a habitual offender to serve twenty years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC). Duck raises the following issues: (1) he was not properly sentenced as a habitual offender; (2) he was entitled to a new trial; (3) the trial court failed to grant a mistrial; (4) newly discovered evidence entitled him to a new trial; (5) the evidence was insufficient to support the verdict; and (6) ineffective assistance of counsel. Finding no merit, we affirm.

         FACTS

         ¶2. On September 19, 2014, the Adams County Sheriff's Department, working with the Metro Narcotics Unit, staged a drug buy using a confidential informant. According to Officer Shane Daugherty, he was contacted by the confidential informant, Jessica Biglane, concerning a possible drug buy. According to Biglane, Duck had contacted her in order to sell methamphetamine from Biglane's house located in Fenwick, Mississippi. Biglane testified that Duck indicated he needed to leave Natchez, Mississippi, due to a recent interaction with law enforcement.

         ¶3. Officer Daugherty, along with Agent David Washington of the narcotics unit, met with Biglane to provide her with money and to install recording devices in her vehicle. Biglane was instructed to drive to a local grocery store in Adams County where the agents would apprehend Duck after the drug buy. Officer Daugherty and Agent Washington followed Biglane as she picked up Duck and proceeded to the grocery store.

         ¶4. Agent Washington testified that he, Officer Daugherty, and Lieutenant George Pirkey approached Biglane's vehicle after it reached the rendezvous point. Agent Washington stated that as Duck was exiting the front passenger side of Biglane's vehicle, he dropped a plastic bag on the ground near his feet. Officer Daugherty testified that he could see Duck sitting in the front passenger side holding cash in one hand and a bag containing white rocks in his other hand. But Officer Daugherty did not see Duck drop the bag, only that Duck's hands were empty by the time he exited the vehicle. Lieutenant Pirkey was waiting in the area when Biglane's vehicle arrived at the grocery store. Lieutenant Pirkey testified that he approached the vehicle with the other agents and saw Duck drop a plastic bag as he exited the vehicle. Lieutenant Pirkey then retrieved the bag, and Duck was arrested. The substance in the bag was later tested and determined to be methamphetamine.

         DISCUSSION

         I.Habitual-Offender ...


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