Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Murry v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

April 18, 2017

ANTHONY MURRY A/K/A ANTHONY JAMES MURRAY, APPELLANT,
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 10/28/2015.

         HINDS COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT HON. WILLIAM A. GOWAN JR., TRIAL JUDGE.

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY: HUNTER NOLAN AIKENS.

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

          DISTRICT ATTORNEY: ROBERT SHULER SMITH.

         EN BANC.

          CARLTON, J.

         ¶1. A jury in the Hinds County Circuit Court, First Judicial District, found Anthony Murry guilty of aggravated assault. See Miss. Code Ann. § 97-3-7(2)(b) (Rev. 2006). On appeal from his conviction and sentence, Murry raises the following issues: (1) whether the circuit court erred by refusing to grant him a new trial due to juror misconduct; (2) whether the circuit court erred by denying his motions to compel evidence and to grant a continuance; (3) whether the circuit court failed to adequately instruct the jury; and (4) whether the verdict was against the overwhelming weight of the evidence.

         ¶2. Upon review, we find dispositive Murry's first assignment of error regarding the circuit court's failure to grant him a new trial due to juror misconduct. During Murry's trial, improper contact occurred between a juror and Murry's fiancée. In denying Murry's new-trial motion, the circuit court misapplied the relevant standard to determine "whether it was reasonably possible that the communication altered the verdict." Roach v. State, 116 So.3d 126, 132 (¶17) (Miss. 2013) (citing Gladney v. Clarksdale Beverage Co., 625 So.2d 407, 419 (Miss. 1993)). As a result, we reverse Murry's conviction and sentence and remand this case for a new trial.

         FACTS

         ¶3. On June 7, 2014, Murry shot Marquavious Brent in the ankle during an altercation. A grand jury indicted Murry for aggravated assault. At Murry's trial, the jury considered all the evidence and testimony presented and then found Murry guilty of aggravated assault. The circuit court sentenced Murry to fifteen years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, with ten years to serve, five years suspended, and five years of supervised probation.

         ¶4. Murry subsequently filed a motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV) or, in the alternative, a new trial. In addition to his other assignments of error, Murry claimed in his motion that juror misconduct denied him the right to a fair trial. Murry alleged that, during the course of the trial, Dennis Harris, one of the jurors, initiated improper contact with Murry's fiancée, Laronda Brooks, and tried to begin a relationship with Brooks. As a result of this alleged misconduct, Murry argued that Harris lost his ability to remain fair and impartial and tainted the jury. To support his claims, Murry attached to his motion Brooks's affidavit, copies of pictures that Harris sent Brooks, and copies of text messages between Harris and Brooks.[1]

         ¶5. The circuit court held a hearing solely on Murry's allegation of juror misconduct. Brooks testified that she first encountered Harris on Tuesday, October 13, 2015, on the second day of Murry's trial. According to Brooks, Harris initiated contact with her in the hallway during a trial recess. Brooks stated that Harris asked her whether he was too late. Brooks testified that she thought Harris was asking whether he was late returning to the courtroom after the recess. As a result, Brooks said she responded, "No, you're not too late." Brooks stated that Harris then told her he was not talking about returning to the courtroom on time, and he asked for her phone number. Brooks testified that she gave Harris her phone number and told him that she was "with the [D]efendant." Brooks further testified that she was unaware at the time of their initial conversation that Harris was a juror in Murry's case.

         ¶6. Brooks stated that Harris called her Tuesday night after their initial contact and that the two spoke for about fifteen minutes. She said that, during their conversation, Harris disclosed to her that he was a juror in Murry's trial. In addition, Brooks stated that Harris told her that he felt Murry was innocent. Brooks also testified that Harris called her again the following night, on Wednesday, after the jury reached a verdict in Murry's case. According to Brooks, Harris sent her text messages saying she did not have to worry and that, if she treated him right, he would take care of her. She further stated that Harris sent almost nude pictures of himself and asked her to send a picture of herself to him.

         ¶7. Brooks testified that she first tried to contact the public defender's office on the day of Harris's initial contact. However, Brooks testified that the defense attorney, Dennis Martin, was out of the office. Brooks then stated that she told another of Murry's attorneys, Candace Gregory-Mayberry, about the contact the following day as they left the courtroom after the jury's verdict. Brooks said she told Gregory-Mayberry that she (Brooks) felt the verdict was not right since Harris had said he felt that Murry was innocent. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.