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Skinner v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

October 2, 2018

JAMES CHRISTOPHER SKINNER A/K/A CHRISTOPHER SKINNER A/K/A JAMES SKINNER A/K/A JAMES C. SKINNER A/K/A CHRIS SKINNER APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 08/02/2017

          COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: RANKIN COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. JOHN HUEY EMFINGER TRIAL JUDGE

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: JACOB WAYNE HOWARD.

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: KATY TAYLOR GERBER.

          BEFORE GRIFFIS, P.J., BARNES AND CARLTON, JJ.

          CARLTON, J.

         ¶1. On March 25, 2011, a Rankin County jury convicted Chris Skinner of one count of disorderly conduct and one count of felony evasion. The circuit court sentenced Skinner as a habitual offender to serve six months in the county jail for his disorderly conduct conviction and life in prison without eligibility for parole for his felony evasion conviction. On appeal to this Court, we affirmed Skinner's conviction and sentence. Skinner v. State, 120 So.3d 419 (Miss. Ct. App. 2013).

         ¶2. After obtaining leave from the Mississippi Supreme Court, Skinner filed a motion for postconviction relief (PCR), which the circuit court summarily dismissed. Skinner now appeals the circuit court's dismissal of his PCR motion, arguing that the circuit court erred by: (1) dismissing his PCR motion after the supreme court granted him leave to proceed in the circuit court; (2) concluding that Skinner's PCR claim is barred by res judicata; and (3) refusing to consider the mitigating circumstances of Skinner's prior childhood convictions when enhancing his sentence to life in prison without eligibility for parole.

         ¶3. After our review, we find error in the circuit court's dismissal of Skinner's PCR motion. We therefore reverse and remand this case to the circuit court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

         FACTS

         ¶4. After a jury trial in Rankin County Circuit Court, Skinner was convicted of one count of disorderly conduct, in violation of Mississippi Code Annotated section 97-35-7 (Rev. 2014), and one count of felony evasion of police, in violation of Mississippi Code Annotated section 97-9-72(2) (Rev. 2014). Pursuant to statute, the maximum jail sentence for a disorderly conduct conviction is "imprisonment in the county jail for not more than six (6) months"[1] and the maximum sentence for a felony evasion conviction is "commitment to the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections for not more than five (5) years."[2]

         ¶5. Prior to Skinner's trial, the State amended Skinner's indictment to charge him as a habitual offender pursuant to Mississippi Code Annotated section 99-19-83 (Rev. 2015).[3] The circuit court granted the State's motion. The record shows that the State's motion to amend the indictment set forth Skinner's underlying convictions and sentences:

(1) Rankin County, Mississippi cause number 18714-conviction of possession of a controlled substance and sentence of eight years in the custody of the MDOC, with four years suspended and four years to serve, followed by four years' post-release supervision; (2) Escambia County, Florida case number 94-5154CFA4M-01-conviction of Count I, attempted carjacking with a firearm, and sentence of four years in the custody of the FDOC, followed by two years of supervised probation; and (3) Escambia County, Florida case number 94-5154CFA4M-01-conviction of Count II, aggravated assault with a firearm, ...

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