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Badger v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

August 28, 2018

CRAYTONIA LATROY BADGER A/K/A CRAYTONIA BADGER A/K/A CRAYTONIA L. BADGER APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 07/26/2017

          AMITE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, HON. FORREST A. JOHNSON JR. TRIAL JUDGE.

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY: W. DANIEL HINCHCLIFF

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

          BEFORE IRVING, P.J., CARLTON AND GREENLEE, JJ.

          CARLTON, J.

         ¶1. Craytonia Badger appeals his conviction for burglary of a building and sentence of seven years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC). On appeal, Badger claims that his conviction is unlawful because his constitutional rights were violated when the trial judge denied him the opportunity to recall a witness to testify. While the transcript shows that Badger and his counsel were given an opportunity to question the witness during the State's case-in-chief, Badger claims that because the trial court denied him the ability to properly rebut the witness's testimony later in the trial, the State subjected him to "trial by ambush." Finding no error, we affirm the trial court's judgment.

         FACTS

         ¶2. In the early hours of October 22, 2014, the Gloster Police Department received a call about a burglary at Gloster Drug Store (also known as Dixon's Discount Pharmacy). After officers assessed the scene, they received a call from the police department in Ferriday, Louisiana, informing them that Lieutenant Lee Williams of the Ferriday Police Department stopped Badger's vehicle that same evening going northbound on Highway 425. During the traffic stop, Lieutenant Williams conducted a search of Badger's vehicle where he discovered prescription drug bottles from Gloster Drug Store in Badger's possession.

         ¶3. At trial, Lieutenant Williams testified that he conducted a traffic stop after observing that Badger's vehicle did not have a license plate. Lieutenant Williams stated that although he did eventually notice a temporary license plate in the rear window, Badger could not produce a driver's license when requested. Badger did, however, produce a Mississippi identification card. Lieutenant Williams performed a warrant check and discovered two outstanding warrants for Badger's arrest. Lieutenant Williams then arrested Badger for driving without a license and having at least one outstanding warrant for his arrest.

         ¶4. Lieutenant Williams advised Badger of his Miranda[1] rights and asked to search the vehicle, and Lieutenant Williams testified that Badger consented to the search. The search produced evidence connecting Badger to the break-in at Gloster Drug Store, including a maul hammer (that Gloster police believed to be used in the burglary), blood-stained shoes and clothing, and bottles of prescription drugs. Lieutenant Williams testified that his discovery of the prescription drug bottles led him to contact the Amite County Sheriff's Department about having Badger in his custody.

         ¶5. Joseph Heflin, a forensic DNA analyst with the Mississippi Forensic Laboratory, testified at trial that he performed tests on the blood and DNA samples recovered from Gloster Drug Store and Badger's car. Heflin testified that Badger's blood matched the blood on the hammer found in his car and the blood from the pharmacy within a reasonable degree of scientific certainty.

         ¶6. On April 13, 2015, a grand jury indicted Badger for the crime of burglary of a storehouse. The matter went to trial July 25, 2017, and the jury returned a guilty verdict. On July 26, 2017, the trial court sentenced Badger as a habitual offender[2] to serve seven years in the custody of the MDOC. Because of his habitual-offender status, he is ineligible for parole or probation. After the trial court denied his posttrial motions, Badger filed his notice of appeal on August 15, 2017.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         ¶7. The Mississippi Constitution ensures that those accused in a criminal proceeding have the right to confront witnesses against them. Miss. Const. art. 3, § 26. While criminally accused individuals have that right, the law clearly recognizes a trial court's authority "to exercise reasonable control over the mode and order of interrogating witnesses and presenting evidence so as to make the interrogation and presentation effective for the ascertainment of the truth." Robinson v. State, 40 So.3d 570, 577 (¶27) (Miss. Ct. App. 2009); see also M.R.E. 611(a). We recognize that "[i]t is within the sound discretion of the trial court to ...


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