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Thomas v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

May 8, 2018

KENDRICK DATON THOMAS A/K/A KENDRICK THOMAS APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 02/01/2017

          FRANKLIN COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. FORREST A. JOHNSON JR. JUDGE

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY: ERIN ELIZABETH BRIGGS

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: SCOTT STUART

          DISTRICT ATTORNEY: RONNIE LEE HARPER

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

          CARLTON, J.

         ¶1. Kendrick Daton Thomas appeals his conviction and sentence for one count of possession of a Schedule II controlled substance (cocaine) and one count of possession of a Schedule I controlled substance (marijuana). Thomas's appellate counsel filed a brief pursuant to the Mississippi Supreme Court's holding in Lindsey v. State, 939 So.2d 743 (Miss. 2005), stating that the record contained no appealable issues. Thomas received additional time to file a pro se brief; however, he did not do so. For the reasons stated below, we affirm the trial court's judgment.

         FACTS

         ¶2. Thomas, Shaynell Lee, and Lee's newborn baby lived together in an apartment in Roxie, Mississippi. On the evening of March 13, 2016, Officer Otis Dyer of the Franklin County Sheriff's Department responded to a call regarding a domestic disturbance at Thomas and Lee's apartment. Officer Dyer arrived at the home. Lee opened the door, and Officer Dyer entered the apartment. Officer Dyer testified that when he entered the apartment, he could smell a strong odor of marijuana. Officer Dyer observed Thomas sitting on a loveseat. Officer Dyer also testified that he saw "a pile" of plastic bags containing a leafy green substance sitting "in plain view . . . [on] a coffee table" between the loveseat and a couch. When Officer Dyer picked up the bags, he noticed that the bags also contained white substances. According to Officer Dyer, he asked Thomas and Lee about the contents of the bags, but they both denied ownership. Officer Dyer then arrested Thomas and Lee for possession of a controlled substance.

         ¶3. A Franklin County grand jury indicted both Thomas and Lee on one count of possession of a Schedule II controlled substance (cocaine), and one count of possession of a Schedule I controlled substance (marijuana). At the start of trial, the trial court severed the cases, and the State proceeded with Thomas's case alone.

         ¶4. At trial, Officer Dyer testified that after arresting Thomas and Lee, he learned that both Thomas and Lee were leaseholders for the apartment. Officer Dyer testified that he asked Thomas and Lee if they had any recent visitors at the apartment, and they responded that they had not. Dyer also commented that it did not appear that there had been any party or recent gathering in the apartment when he arrived.

         ¶5. Thomas testified in his own defense. According to Thomas, he had been living in the apartment with Lee for about three months before this incident. On the night in question, Thomas testified that he spent the evening playing cards, cooking out, and drinking with Lee, two of Thomas's friends, and also two other men who "came along" with Thomas's friends. Thomas testified that he did not see anyone with drugs in the house that evening.

         ¶6. Thomas stated that as they were preparing food, he and Lee got into an argument, and Lee called the police. Thomas testified that when the four guests realized that the police were on their way, they "ran and scattered." When Officer Dyer questioned him about the plastic bags, Thomas testified that "all I could think about it had to be one of my buddies that was there before me that ran out and left it[.]" Thomas maintained that the bags did not belong to him and ...


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