DOMINIC C. ROBINSON a/k/a DOMINIC CARLOUS ROBINSON
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI
OF JUDGMENT: 07/16/2014
JACKSON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. DALE HARKEY
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF THE STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER
BY: HUNTER N. AIKENS DOMINIC C. ROBINSON (PRO SE)
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY:
KAYLYN H. McCLINTON
DISTRICT ATTORNEY: ANTHONY N. LAWRENCE, III
WALLER, C.J., COLEMAN AND CHAMBERLIN, JJ.
WALLER, CHIEF JUSTICE.
In July 2014, a Jackson County jury found Dominic C. Robinson
guilty of three counts of aggravated assault, and he was
sentenced to serve a total of thirty years in the custody of
the Mississippi Department of Corrections. Robinson now
appeals his convictions, arguing that the trial court erred
in its evidentiary rulings and instructions to the jury and
that his convictions are not supported by the weight of the
evidence. In addition to those issues, which were raised by
the Office of Indigent Appeals, Robinson has filed a pro se
supplemental brief raising eleven additional assignments of
error. Finding no reversible error, we affirm Robinson's
convictions and sentences.
& PROCEDURAL HISTORY
On March 5, 2011, Robinson told his girlfriend, Mary Adams,
that he was going to a rap concert in Moss Point that night.
Adams described Robinson as having braids, a moustache, and a
goatee on the night in question. After Robinson left for the
concert, Adams did not see him again until three days later,
at which point he had shaved off his goatee.
Between the late evening hours of March 5, 2011, and the
early morning hours of March 6, 2011, Robinson attended a
concert by rapper Lil Phat at the Creme De La Creme nightclub
in Moss Point. The club had hired several members of Showtime
Security to serve as security guards for the event. Jonathan
Woods was assigned to stand inside the front door of the club
and make sure that concert-goers paid before they entered.
Darius Wright, Carmen Thompson, and Jonathan's wife
Jessica Woods were working just outside the front door,
securing the line into the club and searching concert-goers
as they entered. Charles Tyler White was assigned to the door
of the club's VIP room.
During the concert, Robinson attempted to enter the
club's VIP room, which was reserved for guests with VIP
passes. White did not allow Robinson to enter the VIP room
because he did not have a pass. White described Robinson as
having dreadlocks and a goatee and wearing a white t-shirt
and blue jeans. Robinson returned to the VIP area a second
time, and White again denied him entry. At this point,
Robinson became irate and tried to push his way past White.
White responded by restraining Robinson and physically
removing him from the nightclub.
In the parking lot, Robinson spoke with security guard Darius
Wright, who had known Robinson for about fifteen years.
Wright also described Robinson as having braided hair and a
goatee and wearing a white shirt and blue jeans. Robinson
told Wright that he was allowed to re-enter the club, so
Wright searched him and let him back in. However, Robinson
was escorted back out of the club just a few minutes later.
Robinson asked Wright for the name of the man who had kicked
him out of the club and wanted to know when his shift ended,
stating, "I'm going to get him [security guard
Charles Tyler White]. I want to know what time he get
off." Wright would not give Robinson this information,
so Robinson and his brother Darold Payne left the parking
Later that night, Robinson approached the nightclub and tried
to enter a third time. At this point, Wright was opening the
tailgate of a truck parked near the club's entrance in an
effort to prevent people from cutting through the line into
the club. Wright noticed that Robinson had changed his shirt
since the last time he had seen him. Robinson walked over to
Wright, and Wright asked him to leave the club. Wright was
standing on the side of the truck nearest the entrance to the
club, and Robinson was standing on the other side. At this
time, Damion Kimble approached Wright and began talking to
Robinson. Kimble stated at trial that he had known Robinson
all his life. Robinson told Kimble not to go into the
nightclub, so Kimble turned around and left.
Wright spoke with Robinson and tried to get him to leave, but
Robinson was unwilling to do so. Wright then turned away from
Robinson to go back to his station at the front door of the
club. At this point, Carmen Thompson saw Robinson draw a
handgun and point it at the front of the nightclub. Thompson
yelled "Gun!" and tackled Wright out of
Robinson's line of sight. Wright then glanced around and
saw Robinson shooting at Jonathan and Jessica Woods.
According to Wright, Thompson drew her pistol and fired a
shot that hit the truck's tailgate, causing Robinson to
turn and run. Thompson, however, denied firing her weapon.
After the shooting stopped, Wright called 911 and remained at
the scene until an ambulance arrived.
Jonathan Woods was shot once in the buttocks; the bullet
passed through his pelvis and lodged itself at the base of
his spine. Jessica Woods was shot a total of five times in
the chest, back, hips, and legs. The gunshots to her chest
injured her spine and left her paralyzed from the chest down.
Three nightclub patrons, Ara Osgood, Anquaneshia Thomas, and
Dawonshea Wells, were shot in their right legs.
Detective Johnny Jefferson with the Moss Point Police
Department responded to a call of reported gunshots at the
nightclub at around 2:50 a.m. on March 6, 2011. He arrived to
find a chaotic scene, with people running out of the building
and into the parking lot. Detective Jefferson saw Jonathan
lying on his stomach in the club's entryway, and Jessica
was being treated in a nearby ambulance. Later, Detective
Jefferson traveled to Singing River Hospital and spoke to the
nightclub patrons who had sustained gunshot wounds.
Detective J.D. Savage with the Moss Point Police Department
arrived at the nightclub as other police officers were
securing the scene. The police located twelve nine-millimeter
bullet casings in the parking lot, which were collected and
photographed. Bullet fragments were found near the entrance
to the nightclub and inside near the bar, and there were four
bullet holes in the glass door at the front of the club.
After leaving the nightclub, Detective Savage went to the
hospital and spoke with Jonathan, Osgood, Wells, and Thomas.
He did not speak with Jessica because she was in surgery at
Robinson's brother Darold Payne initially was identified
as a possible suspect in the shooting, but he was ruled out
after Detective Savage spoke with Wright, who identified
Robinson as the shooter. Wright also identified Robinson from
a six-person photographic lineup. Robinson turned himself in
to the Pascagoula Police Department on March 9, 2011.
Detective Savage went to Pascagoula to speak with Robinson,
but Robinson refused to talk until his attorney arrived.
Robinson's attorney never showed up, and Robinson was
transferred to the Moss Point Police Department several days
later. Robinson never gave a statement to the police.
On August 21, 2012, a Jackson County grand jury indicted
Robinson on five counts of aggravated assault. Robinson's
trial was held on July 14-16, 2014. At the conclusion of the
State's case-in-chief, the trial court granted Robinson a
directed verdict as to Count III (Thomas) and Count IV
(Wells), finding that the State had failed to present
sufficient evidence to support those charges. Robinson then
testified in his own defense. Robinson admitted that he had
attended the concert at the Creme De La Creme nightclub on
the night in question. He also admitted that he had been
thrown out of the club, but he claimed that he had been
mistaken for another person. Robinson testified that, after
being thrown out of the club, he left and drove to Mobile,
where he sold music CDs over the weekend. Robinson then went
to his grandmother's house. Robinson contended that he
had not owned a gun since 2008 or 2009 and did not know how
to fire a gun. Robinson believed that Tommy Landrum, the
owner of Showtime Security, was trying to pin the shooting on
him to cover up the fact that the security guards had
"jumped" him for no reason.
At the conclusion of the trial, the jury returned a verdict
finding Robinson guilty of the remaining three counts of
aggravated assault (Counts I, II, and V). The trial court
sentenced Robinson to serve concurrent sentences of twenty
years for Counts I and II. The trial court also sentenced
Robinson to serve a sentence of twenty years for Count V, to
run consecutively to the sentences in Count I and II, and
with ten years in Count V suspended and five years of
post-release supervision, for a total of thirty (30) years to
Robinson, now represented by the Office of Indigent Appeals,
appeals his convictions to this Court, raising the following
I. Whether the trial court erred in granting
II. Whether the trial court erred in excluding
III. Whether the State impermissibly commented on
Robinson's post-Miranda silence.
IV. Whether the verdicts were against the
overwhelming weight of the evidence.
addition, Robinson has filed a pro se supplemental brief
raising eleven additional issues, which we reorganize and
restate as follows:
V. Whether Robinson was denied effective assistance
VI. Whether the State engaged in prosecutorial
misconduct during Robinson's trial.
VII. Whether the State violated Robinson's
due-process rights by delaying his indictment.
VIII. Whether the State failed to preserve
IX. Whether the State knowingly introduced false,
incompetent, and inflammatory evidence, resulting in an
X. Whether the trial court erred in limiting
Robinson's cross-examination of Damion Kimble.
XI. Whether the State violated Robinson's right
to a fair trial by supplying false information during closing
Whether the trial court erred in granting Instruction
At trial, three witnesses testified that the shooter was the
same man who had been kicked out of the nightclub earlier in
the night in question, and their descriptions of the shooter
matched Robinson's physical appearance. However, Darius
Wright was the only witness who had known Robinson personally
prior to the shooting. Wright told Detective Savage that
Robinson was the shooter, and he identified Robinson from a
six-person photo lineup. Wright also identified Robinson at
trial. At the conclusion of the trial, the State offered
Instruction S-14A, which instructed the jury on eyewitness
The Court instructs the Jury that the burden is on the State
to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the offense was
committed and that the defendant was the person who committed
it. You have heard the evidence regarding the identification
of the defendant as the person who committed the crime. In
this connection, you should consider the witness's
opportunity to observe the criminal act and the person
committing it, including the length of time the witness had
to observe the person committing the crime, the witness's
state of mind, and any other circumstances surrounding the
event. You should also consider the witness's certainty
or lack of certainty, the accuracy of any prior description,
and the witness's credibility or lack of credibility, as
well as any other factor surrounding the identification.
You have heard evidence during the trial that the
witness, Darius Wright, identified the defendant. The
identification of the defendant by a single eyewitness, as
the person who committed the crime, if believed beyond a
reasonable doubt, can be enough evidence to convict the
It is for you to determine the reliability of any
identification and give it the weight you believe it
objected to the portion of the instruction that stated that
the identification testimony of a single witness could be
sufficient to convict a defendant. The trial court overruled
Robinson's objection and granted Instruction S-14A. On
appeal, Robinson argues that Instruction S-14A impermissibly
commented on the weight of the evidence by emphasizing
Wright's identification testimony.
The grant or denial of jury instructions is reviewed for an
abuse of discretion. Newell v. State, 49
So.3d 66, 73 (Miss. 2010). This Court reads jury instructions
as a whole, with no single instruction taken out of context.
Rushing v. State, 911 So.2d 526, 537 (Miss. 2005).
"[I]f the instructions fairly announce the law of the
case and create no injustice, no reversible error will be
found." Newell, 49 So.3d at 73. In addition,
while the defendant has a right to present his theory of the
case through jury instructions, he is not entitled to
instructions which incorrectly state the law, have no basis
in the evidence, or are covered fairly elsewhere in the
instructions. Harris v. State, 861 So.2d 1003,
1012-13 (Miss. 2003).
"Our law of criminal procedure has long perceived
dangers in comments upon the evidence[.]" Hansen v.
State, 592 So.2d 114, 141 (Miss. 1991). This Court has
held that "[a] jury instruction that emphasizes any
particular part of the testimony given at trial in a manner
as to amount to a comment on the weight of the evidence, is
improper." Montgomery v. State, 891
So.2d 179, 184 (Miss. 2004) (citing Manuel v. State,
667 So.2d 590, 592 (Miss. 1995)). Applying this principle, we
repeatedly have affirmed the trial court's denial of jury
instructions that attempt to tell the jury what weight to
assign to the evidence, rather than allowing the jury to make
its own credibility determinations. See Hansen, 592
So.2d at 141 (affirming denial of defense instruction
cautioning jurors against giving undue credence to the
testimony of law enforcement officials); Goss v.
State, 413 So.2d 1033, 1035 (Miss. 1982) (affirming
denial of defense instruction stating that the uncorroborated
testimony of the victim of a sex crime should be scrutinized
with extreme caution); Hines v. State, 339 So.2d 56,
58 (Miss. 1976) (affirming denial of defense instruction
advising jury that no class of testimony is less credible
than that of identity). "The presence of evidence
tending to prove facts mentioned in an instruction does not
mean that the jury has to believe what the 'evidence
shows' where there is also evidence to the
contrary." Manuel, 667 So.2d at 592-93.
Robinson argues that Instruction S-14A improperly commented
on the weight of Wright's testimony by pointing the jury
specifically to Wright's identification of Robinson and
stating that the testimony of one eyewitness can be
sufficient to convict. We find no merit in this argument.
First, unlike the instructions in Hansen,
Goss, and Hines, Instruction S-14A did not
require the jury to assign a certain weight to Wright's
testimony. On the contrary, Instruction S-14A specifically
told the jury, "It is for you to determine the
reliability of any identification and give it the weight you
believe it deserves." In addition, Instruction S-14A did
not require the jury to convict Robinson even if it believed
Wright's testimony. Rather, the instruction provides that
"[t]he identification of the defendant by a single
eyewitness, as the person who committed the crime, if
believed beyond a reasonable doubt, can be enough
evidence to convict the defendant, " which is a correct
statement of law. See Doby v. State, 532 So.2d 584,
591 (Miss. 1988) (recognizing the rule that "persons may
be found guilty on the uncorroborated testimony of a single
witness"). Instruction S-14A left to the jury the task
of judging the credibility of Wright's testimony and
weighing it against the other evidence presented at trial. We
hold that the mere mention of Wright's testimony in
Instruction S-14A did not amount to an improper comment on
the weight of the evidence.
Whether the trial court erred in excluding Exhibit
After the State had rested at Robinson's trial, Robinson
attempted to admit into evidence Exhibit D-1, which was an
order entered on August 3, 2011 - six months after the
shooting in this case - in a criminal cause in which Darius
Wright was the defendant. The order shows that the
prosecution moved to reduce a pending drug-possession charge
against Wright from a felony to a misdemeanor. The trial
court granted this motion, and Wright pleaded guilty to the
misdemeanor. Wright was sentenced to a six-month suspended
sentence, six months of nonreporting probation, and a
monetary fine. Notably, the order does not list the date of
Wright's offense or the date on which he was formally
Robinson argued that Exhibit D-1 would "go to Mr.
Wright's testimony or his credibility." The trial
court analyzed Exhibit D-1 under Rule 609 of the Mississippi
Rules of Evidence and concluded that the exhibit was
inadmissible because it was not probative of Wright's
"veracity or credibility." On appeal, Robinson
contends that the trial court erred in excluding Exhibit D-1.
"The standard of review for the admission or exclusion
of evidence is abuse of discretion." Williams v.
State, 54 So.3d 212, 213 (Miss. 2011) (citation
omitted). "However, this discretion must be exercised
within the confines of the Mississippi Rules of
Evidence." Cox v. State, 849 So.2d 1257, 1268
(Miss. 2003) (citation omitted).
As an initial matter, we find that the trial court did not
err in finding that Exhibit D-1 was inadmissible under Rule
609. Rule 609 allows admission of evidence of a criminal
conviction evidence under certain circumstances for the
purpose of "attacking a witness's character for
truthfulness." Miss. R. Evid. 609(a). But because
Wright's conviction imposed a sentence of less than one
year, Exhibit D-1 would be admissible under Rule 609 only
"if the court can readily determine that establishing
the elements of the crime required proving - or the
witness's admitting - a dishonest act or false
statement." Miss. R. Evid. 609(a)(2). The elements of
possession of a controlled substance do not require proof of
a dishonest act or false statement, so Exhibit D-1 was not
admissible to attack Wright's character for truthfulness
under Rule 609.
Robinson now claims, however, that he was not attempting to
admit Exhibit D-1 under Rule 609 to attack Wright's
character for truthfulness. Instead, Robinson asserts that he
intended to use Exhibit D-1 to show that Wright had made a
deal with law-enforcement authorities for leniency in his
drug-possession case in exchange for his testimony in
Robinson's case. In other words, he argues that his
purpose for offering Exhibit D-1 "was not simply to
discredit [Wright] because he had been convicted of such a
crime (which may very well have been inadmissible under some
provision of Rule 609), but to ferret out any motive or
reason [Wright] might have to be such a favorable state
witness." Bevill v. State, 556 So.2d 699,
713-14 (Miss. 1990). Accordingly, Robinson argues that
Exhibit D-1 was admissible under Rule 616, which provides,
"Evidence of a witness's bias, prejudice, or
interest - for or against any party - is admissible to attack
the witness's credibility." Miss. R. Evid. 616.
We find that Robinson failed to inform the trial court of the
substance of his argument with an offer of proof sufficient
to preserve this claim of error. See Miss. R. Evid.
103(a)(2). Beyond generally stating that Exhibit D-1 would go
to Wright's "credibility, " Robinson never
specifically argued Rule 616 as a basis for Exhibit D-1's
admissibility. In fact, while considering the admissibility
of Exhibit D-1, the trial court stated, "I don't
think the question is whether that relates to any kind of
deal [Wright] may have had with the District Attorney.
It's being offered as impeachment evidence in regard to
his truthfulness under Rule 609." Robinson did not
respond to this statement to correct what he now claims to be
the trial court's misunderstanding of his argument.
Accordingly, we find that Robinson's argument is
procedurally barred, because the issue of Wright's bias,
prejudice, or interest was not presented clearly to the trial
In addition, "Rule 616 must be interpreted as it relates
to other rules of evidence, particularly [Rules] 104, 401 and
402." Tillis v. State, 661 So.2d 1139, 1142
(Miss. 1995). For evidence of bias or interest to be
admissible under Rule 616, "[i]t must have the tendency,
in the case being tried, to make the facts to which the
witness testified less probable than they would be without
the evidence of bias." Id. Simply stated,
Exhibit D-1 has no independent relevance to the issue of
Wright's bias, prejudice, or interest. Exhibit D-1 does
not mention any deal between Wright and the State in this
case, and Robinson failed to offer any other proof that
Wright had been offered leniency in his drug-possession case
in exchange for his testimony against Robinson. Robinson also
never asked Wright whether he had received favorable
treatment in exchange for his testimony. In fact,
Wright's drug-possession charge was never mentioned
during the State's case-in-chief. Robinson relies solely
on the proximity in time between Wright's identification
of Robinson as the shooter and his guilty plea in the
drug-possession case to argue that there is a connection
between the two events. But this argument amounts to ...