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Holloway v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

October 16, 2018

LADALE AIROSTEVE HOLLOWAY A/K/A LADALE A. HOLLOWAY A/K/A DALE HOLLOWAY APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 10/18/2017

          HARRISON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, SECOND JUDICIAL DISTRICT HON. ROGER T. CLARK JUDGE

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY: JUSTIN TAYLOR COOK

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: KAYLYN HAVRILLA MCCLINTON

          DISTRICT ATTORNEY: JOEL SMITH

          BEFORE LEE, C.J., FAIR AND WILSON, JJ.

          FAIR, J.

         ¶1. A police officer found Ladale Airosteve Holloway passed out at the wheel of a vehicle sitting in an intersection on Highway 90 in Biloxi. Holloway had illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia in his lap and in the vehicle, and he fled when awoken by police officers. The total street value of the drugs was later determined to be more than twenty thousand dollars. Holloway was convicted of three counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, as a "little" habitual offender and as a second or subsequent offense.[1] On appeal, he challenges the admission of text messages received by a phone found in the vehicle, which were recent solicitations to purchase illegal drugs. Holloway claims the messages were hearsay and not properly authenticated. We find no error and affirm.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         ¶2. The standard of review regarding the admission or exclusion of evidence is abuse of discretion. Young v. Guild, 7 So.3d 251, 261 (¶34) (Miss. 2009). Furthermore, a conviction will not be reversed "unless the trial court abused its discretion in a manner that was prejudicial to the accused or adversely affected a substantial right of the accused." Boyd v. State, 175 So.3d 1, 4 (¶12) (Miss. 2015).

         DISCUSSION

         1. Authentication

         ¶3. Holloway challenges the authenticity of the text messages found on a phone that was found in the vehicle with him, along with a large quantity of illegal drugs as well as distribution paraphernalia.

         ¶4. At trial, the lead investigator testified that he obtained a warrant to search the contents of a phone found in the vehicle with Holloway. When the investigator started to describe what he found on the phone, Holloway objected, contending that "the phone itself has not been authenticated as to who owns [it]" and that its contents were hearsay. The objection was sustained, but the court allowed the State to attempt to lay a foundation. The State then, over objection, elicited testimony that the phone was found in the vehicle with Holloway and contained a photograph of Holloway that appeared to have been taken while he was holding the phone, a "selfie." Holloway's objection here was to relevance, authentication, and the best evidence rule. The objection was overruled. Eventually, the lead investigator was asked to describe the content of the text messages found on the phone. Holloway again objected, but the only bases specified were that it was "hearsay," "pure speculation," and "pure anything else I can think of." Holloway also appeared to refer back to his prior authenticity objection by ...


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