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Sallie v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

April 25, 2017

SHARON SALLIE A/K/A SHARON JEAN SALLIE A/K/A SHARON PLAXICO SALLIE APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 05/11/2016

         COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: TIPPAH COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. ANDREW K. HOWORTH TRIAL JUDGE.

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY: MOLLIE MARIE MCMILLIN.

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

          BEFORE IRVING, P.J., FAIR AND WILSON, JJ.

          FAIR, J.

         ¶1. Sharon Sallie was convicted of conspiring with her daughter, Jessica Plaxico, and son-in-law, Ahmad Fryar, to obtain money from Wilma Colom through false pretenses, and for actually committing the crime of false pretenses. The circuit court sentenced Sallie as a habitual offender under Mississippi Code Annotated section 99-19-81 (Rev. 2015), ordering that she serve five years for her conspiracy conviction and ten years for her false-pretenses conviction. The court further ordered that the sentences run concurrently and that Sallie pay restitution jointly and severally in the amount of $15, 518.25 (the total amount of money that Colom lost from the scam).

         ¶2. Sallie claims, for the first time on appeal, that her indictment in Count II was fatally flawed because it did not contain specific facts surrounding the alleged crime. Finding Sallie's indictment sufficient, we affirm the judgment of the circuit court.

         FACTS

         ¶3. Colom owned a motel in Tiplersville, Mississippi. Plaxico and Fryar were two of her tenants. Colom testified that Plaxico often came to her with financial problems and that she was not an "ideal tenant." The scam leading to Sallie's conviction started when Plaxico told Colom that a doctor left medical tools inside her body when she gave birth to her child. Plaxico said she planned to sue the doctor and claimed that she needed money for the lawsuit. She promised that she would repay Colom once she had the money. When Colom asked Sallie if Plaxico's story was true, Sallie said that it was. Plaxico initially asked Colom to send money through Moneygram in Sallie's name because she was the only one with valid identification. Colom sent Sallie $2, 160 in September 2012, and then two $50 money orders - one in October 2012 and one in July 2013.

         ¶4. Colom kept giving money directly to Plaxico and Fryar until she found out there was no lawsuit in Plaxico's name. She testified that, although Sallie did stop telling her to send money, Sallie never said the story was a scam. Sallie testified that Colom kept sending Plaxico and Fryar money even though she told her there was no pending lawsuit. Sallie also denied ever conspiring with Plaxico and Fryar.

         DISCUSSION

         ¶5. Sallie claims that Count II of the indictment was defective because it lacked an essential element of the crime - the specific nature of the false pretenses - and prevented her from preparing an adequate defense. She further argues that the indictment did not provide specific details protecting her from double jeopardy.

         ¶6. "Challenges to the substantive sufficiency of an indictment may not be waived and consequently may be raised for the first time on appeal." Ross v. State, 954 So.2d 968, 1015 (¶126) (Miss. 2007) (citing State v. Berryhill, 703 So.2d 250, 254 (ΒΆ16) (Miss. 1997)). Since "a challenge to an indictment for failure to charge the essential elements of a criminal offense affects a fundamental right, " it ...


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