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Gonzalez v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

November 28, 2017

SERGIO SEBASTIAN GONZALEZ A/K/A SEBASTIAN GONZALES A/K/A SERGIO S. GONZALEZ A/K/A SERGIO SEBASTAIN GONZALEZ APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 07/27/2016

         PONTOTOC COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, HON. JAMES SETH ANDREW POUNDS

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT; PATRICK M. RAND

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

          BEFORE LEE, C.J., FAIR AND WESTBROOKS, JJ.

          FAIR, J.

         ¶1. Sergio Sebastian Gonzalez was convicted of felony aggravated assault and was sentenced to serve twenty years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections. Gonzalez appeals, claiming that the trial court committed reversible error by allowing the prosecution to enter a medical screening form into evidence. Finding no abuse of discretion or reversible error, we affirm.

         ¶2. Gonzalez and Gina Rodriguez were married in 2010. By 2014, the couple had separated and were contemplating divorce. On August 9, 2014, Gonzalez went to Gina's house in violation of a protective order. Upon entering the home, he saw Andres Gonzalez sitting on the couch in a state of undress. Gina and Andres began seeing each other while Gina was still living with Gonzalez.

         ¶3. Gonzalez testified that when he walked in, Andres stated, "Here I am. Do you want something from me?" Gonzalez is 5'3" tall, and weighs 136 pounds, while Andres is 5'8" tall, and weighs approximately 185 pounds. Gonzalez then went to the kitchen and grabbed two kitchen knives. A struggle followed, and Andres suffered stab wounds to the right side of his head, his side, his back, and several lacerations to his arms. He also suffered a collapsed lung. As a result, Andres was airlifted to North Mississippi Medical Center. Four days after the incident, Gonzalez voluntarily turned himself in to the authorities and was charged with aggravated assault.

         ¶4. Gonzalez testified in his own defense. On cross-examination, he claimed that he attacked Andres in self-defense and had been left with bitemarks on his arms and bruises from the struggle - though he admitted they had been inflicted after he stabbed Andres. The prosecution called as rebuttal witnesses Lynn Parrish and Tyler Reed, the jailers who prepared Gonzalez's booking paperwork at the jail. Parrish, whose testimony was corroborated by Reed, testified that while booking Gonzalez into jail, she did not observe any bitemarks or bruising. The prosecution presented a medical screening form, which was unsigned, undated, and the majority of it left blank. Parrish testified that she had asked Gonzalez the questions contained in the form, but because he answered them all in the negative, and because she did not observe any cuts or bruises on him, she did not mark anything on the medical form.

         DISCUSSION

         1. Discovery Violation

         ¶5. Gonzalez contends the medical form was not produced to defense counsel during discovery, and therefore, should not have been entered into evidence at trial. When reviewing whether a discovery violation has occurred, it must first be noted that the decision to admit or exclude evidence is left to the trial court's discretion. Carpenter v. State, 132 So.3d 1053, 1055 (¶5) (Miss. 2013). The same standard applies to violations of the Mississippi Uniform Rules of Circuit and County Court Practice 9.04[1] and to a trial court's denial of motions for continuance or mistrial. Payton v. State, 897 So.2d 921, 942 (¶67) (Miss. 2003); see also Hurst v. State, 195 So.3d 736, 744 (¶20) (Miss. 2016).

         ¶6. Rule 9.04 provides that if the prosecution attempts to introduce evidence that has not been disclosed according to ...


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