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Jackson v. State

Supreme Court of Mississippi

June 14, 2018

ROGER LEE JACKSON a/k/a ROGER JACKSON a/k/a ROGER L. JACKSON
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 05/05/2017

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

          TRIAL COURT ATTORNEYS: GREG RICHARD SPORE MICHELE PURVIS HARRIS MICHAEL ERIC BROWN ESEOSA GWENDLINE AGHO JACK BRADLEY McCULLOUCH

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF THE STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY: GEORGE T. HOLMES

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: ALICIA MARIE AINSWORTH

          DISTRICT ATTORNEY: ROBERT SHULER SMITH

          BEFORE KITCHENS, P.J., BEAM AND CHAMBERLIN, JJ.

          BEAM, JUSTICE

         ¶1. Roger Lee Jackson appeals from his convictions for aggravated assault and felon in possession of a firearm after a jury trial in Hinds County Circuit Court. The jury acquitted Jackson of deliberate-design murder, which was charged in the same indictment. Jackson claims the trial court committed reversible error by: (1) limiting defense counsel's cross-examination of State's witnesses; and (2) limiting defense counsel's closing argument about reasonable doubt. Finding no reversible error, we affirm Jackson's convictions.

         FACTS

         ¶2. In the early morning hours on November 11, 2014, two men were shot near Roach Street in Jackson, Mississippi. One of the victims, Quincy McGowan, died. His body was discovered in a nearby vacant lot by a passerby shortly after noon on November 11. Police found ten 9 mm shell casings near the body, and a 9 mm projectile was recovered from McGowan's body during autopsy.

         ¶3. The other victim, Emmanuel Jones, survived after being shot five times-once in the face, three times in the torso, and once in the foot. Doctors retrieved a .22 caliber projectile from Jones's body during treatment at a nearby hospital.

         ¶4. Jones testified at Jackson's trial. According to Jones, he and Jackson were riding around in Jackson's vehicle looking to buy some drugs on the night of the shooting. At some point, Jones and Jackson encountered Jerry Lewis driving another vehicle, with two males riding as passengers. Jones and Jackson followed Lewis to the vicinity of Roach Street and Farrish Street, where they parked the vehicles in a vacant lot.

         ¶5. Jackson and Lewis got out of their vehicles and started talking. The two then began to argue. Jones said he heard Jackson tell one of the other individuals riding with Lewis to get out of the vehicle. Jones said he heard a gunshot, and he saw Jackson shoot McGowan. Jackson then came back to his vehicle and walked over to the passenger side where Jones was sitting, and began shooting Jones.

         ¶6. Jones got out of the vehicle and ran to a nearby house, banged on the door, and collapsed on the porch. The home's occupant called 911.

         ¶7. A couple of weeks after the shooting, Jones identified Jackson from a photo lineup as the person who had shot him. Jones told the jury he believed Jackson had shot him (Jones) because Jackson did not want any witnesses.

         ¶8. On cross-examination, Jones admitted he was a prior-convicted felon and was on probation at the time of the shooting. Jones said he was not allowed to own or possess a firearm. Jones said he did not own a gun, and was not in possession of one at the time of the shootings.

         ¶9. Jones's sister, Jerminda Myers, testified on behalf of the State. Myers said, soon after the shooting, she talked to Jones at the hospital about what had happened. Myers, who had once dated Jackson, said she had received a phone call from Jackson shortly after she talked to Jones at the hospital. Jackson said he heard Jones had been shot. According to Myers, Jackson was questioning her about Jones's condition and trying to find out if Jones was able to talk. Myers said she "played along" and told Jackson Jones "was in critical condition." Myers said "it wasn't true." Jones was not in critical condition, and she had talked to Jones and Jones had told her who shot him. Myers said when Jackson said to her, "Ain't no telling who did it[, ]" she "almost bit [her tongue] off."

         ¶10. Myers said she received another phone call from Jackson a day later, asking if she still lived in the same apartment. And Jackson asked if Myers's mother still lived in the same location. Myers said she responded to Jackson: "I asked him did his mom stay in the same spot she lived in."

         ¶11. Detective Rozerrio Camel of the Jackson Police Department testified on behalf of the State and the defense. Detective Camel investigated the scene where McGowan's body was found on November 11.

         ¶12. Detective Camel said Jackson developed as a suspect in the case during his investigation. And Detective Camel said he received a telephone call from an individual named Michael Davis, saying he had some information concerning the death of McGowan.

         ¶13. Davis testified at trial that McGowan was his best friend, whom he had known since the fourth grade. When Davis learned McGowan had been killed, Davis began asking around trying to found out who had killed him. Davis said when he spoke to Jackson, Jackson had admitted killing McGowan. According to Davis, Jackson stated: "Okay. I did it. Now what are you going to do?"

         ¶14. Davis thereafter spoke to Detective Camel and told him that Jackson had said he had killed McGowan. Detective Camel showed Davis a photograph lineup, from which Davis identified Jackson. Davis also identified Jackson in the courtroom as the person who had told him that he had killed McGowan.

         ¶15. On cross-examination, Davis testified that he had a subsequent conversation with Jackson in which Jackson said that Lewis also was involved, along with someone named "Tope."

         ¶16. During the defense's case-in-chief, the defense called two witnesses: Detective Camel and Tommy Bishop, a firearms examiner at the Mississippi Crime Laboratory. Jackson did not testify.

         ¶17. The defense first asked Detective Camel about items that were found at the crime scene and what, if any, forensic tests were conducted on those items. Detective Camel said he had turned over all the items recovered to the Mississippi Crime Lab. The defense also asked Detective Camel whether any DNA samples were collected from Jones, or from anyone else in connection with the shootings. Detective Camel said no DNA samples were collected from anyone.

         ¶18. Lastly, the defense asked Detective Camel whether he had interviewed Lewis during the course of his investigation. Detective Camel said he had interviewed Lewis, and Lewis was considered a potential suspect. But according to Detective Camel, they did not have enough evidence linking him to the shooting(s). Detective Camel said "nobody came to me and told me that they saw [Lewis] shoot [anyone]." When the defense asked Detective Camel whether Lewis was dismissed as a potential suspect, Detective Camel said: "I never did dismiss him. I just didn't have enough to make an arrest. Like I said, I did interview him."

         ¶19. Bishop testified that he had examined one of the bullet projectiles recovered from Jones's body. Bishop said he was positive it was "a .22-caliber[, ]" and not a "nine-millimeter." Based on a question asked by the defense, Bishop said the report he received in the case listed two suspects, "Roger Jackson and Jerry Lewis."

         ¶20. After the case was submitted to the jury, Jackson was found guilty of aggravated assault and felon in possession of a firearm. The jury acquitted Jackson of deliberate-design murder. This appeal followed. Additional facts will be related in the discussion of the issues.

         DISCUSSION

         I. Whether the trial court erred in limiting Jackson's cross- examination of the State's witnesses.

         ¶21. Jackson claims his defense strategy at trial was to impeach Jones and shift the blame for both shootings to Lewis. According to Jackson, at several key points during cross-examination of state witnesses, the State interrupted Jackson's efforts to establish evidence in support of his defense with various objections that were sustained by the trial court. Jackson contends this violated his federal and state ...


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