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Chism v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

February 13, 2018

ADAM CHISM APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 09/06/2016

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

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY: PHILLIP BROADHEAD.

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: JOSEPH SCOTT HEMLEBEN.

          BEFORE GRIFFIS, P.J., WILSON AND WESTBROOKS, JJ.

          GRIFFIS, P.J.

         ¶1. Adam Chism appeals his conviction of burglary of a dwelling under Mississippi Code Annotated section 99-19-83 (Rev. 2015). Chism argues that his prior felony convictions were improperly admitted into evidence, the jury's verdict was based on insufficient evidence or against the overwhelming weight of the evidence, and the trial court failed to allow a circumstantial-evidence jury instruction. We find no error and affirm.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2. Officer Angela Nichols of the Jackson Police Department was dispatched to a potential home burglary in progress. The house's alarm system was triggered, resulting in the alarm company calling the police, and the police department dispatched Nichols who was close by.

         ¶3. Nichols arrived at the scene and walked around to the basement in the back of the house where the alarm originated. She saw Chism backing out of the basement carrying a bag. Nichols ordered Chism to drop the bag and get down on the ground. He complied. Nichols arrested Chism after she inspected the bag and found an X-Box One game console.

         ¶4. Chism testified that he was on his way to his father's house early that Saturday morning to work, like he normally did on Saturdays. As they were driving, Chism and his wife, Mary, got into a dispute. To avoid any further confrontation, Chism testified that he asked Mary to pull over and let him out of the car. He would continue the rest of the way on foot. Chism said that, since he was already on probation from a previous conviction, he wanted to be extra precautious to avoid confrontation. Mary let him out of the car and sped off hurriedly, which worried Chism. He testified that he began walking to the house of his friend's aunt, which was nearby. He planned to borrow a phone to check on his wife and let his father know that he was on the way.

         ¶5. Chism then testified that he was walking past the house at issue, and he heard an alarm. He walked around the house to investigate and assist anyone that may need help. He then claimed the back door was wide open. Chism also said that he did not intend to go inside and take anything; but, he entered the house and called for anyone that may be inside. He then noticed a bag on the floor of the basement. He picked up the bag just as Nichols was rounding the corner.

         ¶6. After placing Chism in custody, Nichols testified that she and other officers entered the house through the basement door to inspect and secure the house. Kenneth Gray, the then-tenant of the house, testified that the basement door separating the basement from outside had been pushed in and the doorframe sustained significant damage. Gray testified that he had not given anyone permission to enter his residence. Gray confirmed Nichols's testimony that his bicycle, which he usually stored inside the basement, was leaning against the wall outside of the basement door.

         ¶7. Once inside the house, Nichols proceeded upstairs into the kitchen and living-room areas. She testified that the door separating the basement from the living room was totally destroyed and completely torn in half. She found the living room in disarray, and the couch was thrown about as though someone had been searching through it. Nichols stated these were all common signs of forced entry and burglary.

         ¶8. Chism was found guilty and sentenced as a habitual offender to life in the custody of the Mississippi Department of ...


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