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Harris v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

September 5, 2017

TROYLANDEN CORTEZ HARRIS A/K/A TROYLANDEN C. HARRIS A/K/A TROYLANEN HARRIS A/K/A TROYLANDEN HARRIS A/K/A TROYLAND CORTEZ HARRIS APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 12/17/2015

         HINDS COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT HON. JEFF WEILL SR. TRIAL JUDGE

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

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: KATY TAYLOR GERBER

          DISTRICT ATTORNEY: ROBERT SHULER SMITH

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

          IRVING, P.J.

         ¶1. A Hinds County jury found Troylanden Harris guilty of attempted armed carjacking; the Circuit Court of Hinds County sentenced him to twenty-five years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC), with twenty years to serve, five years suspended, and five years of supervised probation. Harris filed a motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV) or, in the alternative, a new trial, which the court denied. Harris now appeals, asserting the following issues: (1) the trial court erred in admitting his written confession; (2) the trial court erred in failing to instruct the jury on the essential elements of the crime; (3) the trial court erred in refusing his request for a lesser-included-offense instruction; and (4) he received ineffective assistance of counsel. Because we find plain error in the court's failure to properly instruct the jury, we reverse and remand.

         FACTS

         ¶2. On January 14, 2013, Henry Judd and his girlfriend, Jasmine Polly, were driving Judd's 2004 Nissan Titan to the end of their driveway. Judd exited the Titan to move another car that was blocking the driveway; he left Polly in the passenger seat with the Titan still running. As he did so, two men in a Mercury Mountaineer drove up alongside the Titan. The driver of the Mountaineer stayed in the vehicle, while Harris exited. With his face partially covered, Harris opened the Titan's passenger door and demanded that Polly get out. When Polly refused, Harris held a Glock .40-caliber handgun to her leg, prompting Polly to exit the vehicle. Judd saw the commotion and ran back toward the Titan. Judd pinned Harris against the Mountaineer, causing the covering to fall from Harris's face. Judd realized that he knew Harris. Harris apologized to Judd and reentered the Mountaineer, which quickly drove away.

         ¶3. Judd called the Jackson Police Department and Officer Lincoln Lampkin was dispatched to the scene. Judd identified Harris as the suspect to Officer Lampkin. Polly later picked Harris out of a photo lineup.

         ¶4. On February 5, 2013, the Jackson Police Department responded to a disturbance call for an unrelated incident. While responding to the call, Officer Lampkin recognized Harris and arrested him for the attempted armed carjacking from several weeks earlier.

         ¶5. Detective Kenneth Dunn with the Jackson Police Department interviewed Harris after his arrest. Harris signed a waiver-of-rights form prior to being interviewed, thereby waiving his rights pursuant to Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966). At the bottom of the waiver form was a typed segment, which reads as follows:

My name is Troylanden Harris . . . .[1] I am here at police HQ talking to Detective Kenneth Dunn[.] I have waived my rights and will provide Detective Dunn with a statement.
Q. Did you attempt to carjack a [w]hite] [N]issan Titan?
A. Yes[.]
Q. Did you pull a gun and put it up to the driver[']s head?
A. I didn't put it to her head[;] I had it down by the seatbelt pointed down
and I told her to get out. She said[, ] "No." [A]t that time "Henry was coming to the truck."
Q. Who is Henry?
A. A guy I grew up with[.]
Q. What did he say to you?
A. He called my name and we made eye contact[;] I said[, ] "Henry[, ]" and that's when I said[, ] "Henry it[']s over[.]" He said[, "O]k[;] it[']s over[";] I told him I'm [through] with it. When I left[, ] I went home[, ] and he called my mother's phone.
Q. Did Henry have a gun?
A. Umm hmm[.]
Q. Do you know what kind?
A. I wanna say a .32[.]
Q. When you pulled up to the truck did you know whose truck ...

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