OF JUDGMENT: 08/21/2015
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
LEE, C.J., ISHEE AND GREENLEE, JJ.
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
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.
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.
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.