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Stokes v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

February 20, 2018

DERRICK STOKES A/K/A DERRICK LEE STOKES APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 12/09/2016

         MADISON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. JOHN HUEY EMFINGER

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: DERRICK STOKES (PRO SE)

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: LAURA HOGAN TEDDER

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

          WESTBROOKS, J.

         ¶1. In May 2008, Derrick Stokes pleaded guilty to gratification of lust and exploitation of a child. The Madison County Circuit Court sentenced Stokes to fifteen years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections for the gratification-of-lust conviction. For the exploitation-of-a-child conviction, the circuit court sentenced Stokes to a consecutive ten-year sentence with five years suspended, five years to serve, and five years of post-release supervision. Stokes now appeals the denial of his fifth motion for post-conviction relief (PCR). Finding no error, we affirm.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2. To date, Stokes has filed five PCR motions. In Stokes's first PCR motion, he alleged that his guilty pleas were involuntary; he received ineffective assistance of counsel; he found newly discovered evidence; and he pleaded guilty based on misrepresentation and duress. Stokes v. State, 66 So.3d 746, 747 (¶2) (Miss. Ct. App. 2011). The circuit court denied his PCR motion. Id. Stokes appealed to this Court, arguing that the circuit court erred in denying his motion without an evidentiary hearing; the circuit court erred by accepting his guilty plea without appointing a sign-language interpreter during the plea hearing because Stokes alleged he was legally deaf; and he received ineffective assistance of counsel. Id. This Court dismissed his appeal because it was untimely. Id. at 749 (¶8).

         ¶3. Stokes filed his second PCR motion on April 8, 2013. Stokes v. State, 145 So.3d 1238, 1239 (¶4) (Miss. Ct. App. 2014). Stokes argued once again that the circuit court erred by not appointing a sign-language interpreter. Id. Stokes asserted that had an interpreter been appointed, Stokes would not have entered the guilty pleas. Id. The circuit court held that his claims were time-barred and successive-writ barred. Id. Stokes appealed to this Court, arguing that the circuit court denied him due process when it did not appoint a sign-language interpreter during the plea hearing. Id. at (¶5). This Court affirmed the circuit court's judgment. Id. at 1241 (¶13).

         ¶4. On October 27, 2014, Stokes filed a third PCR motion. Stokes v. State, 199 So.3d 745, 748 (¶5) (Miss. Ct. App. 2016). The circuit court denied the motion as time-barred and successive-writ barred. Id. Stokes did not appeal that decision. Id. Instead, he filed a fourth PCR motion prior to the circuit court's denial of his third PCR motion. Id. Again, Stokes argued that his guilty pleas were involuntary because of his hearing impairment. Id. Additionally, he requested DNA testing. Id. The circuit court dismissed Stokes's fourth PCR motion, finding that it was time-barred and successive-writ barred. Id. Stokes appealed. Id. This Court affirmed the circuit court's judgment and noted that Stokes's ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claim was barred by res judicata. Id. at 749, 750 (¶¶12, 15).

         ¶5. Stokes filed his fifth PCR motion on October 12, 2016, more than eight years after his guilty pleas. Stokes again argued that his due-process rights were violated because he was not provided with a sign-language interpreter at the plea hearing. Stokes also claimed that the indictment was void for the omission of the word "feloniously." In support of his argument that he had a hearing impairment, Stokes attached his own affidavit and the affidavit of a fellow inmate. Stokes also attached two pages of an uncertified transcript from the Mississippi School for the Deaf and an uncertified copy of one page of an audiology report. The circuit court dismissed Stokes's fifth PCR motion because he had not raised any issue that might provide an exception to the procedural bars.

         ¶6. Aggrieved, Stokes appeals and presents the following arguments: (1) the circuit court erred in dismissing his fifth PCR motion; (2) he was denied due process because of an insufficient indictment; and (3) the circuit court should have appointed a sign-language interpreter during the plea hearing.

         STANDARD ...


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