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Beal v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

December 11, 2018

DENNIS JEROME BEAL A/K/A DENNIS BEAL APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 09/18/2017

          MADISON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. JOHN HUEY EMFINGER TRIAL JUDGE

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: JOHN PRINCE MARTIN C. R. MONTGOMERY

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: JEFFREY A. KLINGFUSS

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

          FAIR, J.

         ¶1. Dennis Beal was convicted of the sale of 0.10 gram worth of cocaine for thirty dollars and sentenced to serve sixty years as a habitual offender without eligibility for parole. The trial court also imposed a $2, 000, 000 fine. This Court affirmed Beal's conviction on direct appeal. Beal v. State, 134 So.3d 383, 387 (¶21) (Miss. Ct. App. 2014).

         ¶2. After the filing of Beal's direct appeal, however, the supreme court reversed the bribery conviction supporting Beal's habitual-offender enhancement. Beal v. State, 86 So.3d 887, 889-90 (¶¶1-8) (Miss. 2012) (reversing conviction for bribery arising out of the same underlying drug sale incident). The State did not retry the charge. Beal later sought leave to file a post-conviction relief (PCR) motion, and the supreme court granted the request for leave to proceed in circuit court. After a hearing, the circuit court granted Beal's PCR motion. The circuit then held a resentencing hearing and removed the habitual-offender enhancement. Nevertheless, the court resentenced Beal to serve sixty years in the custody of the MDOC, reducing the fine and making no mention of parole or other statutes allowing reduction of incarceration.

         ¶3. However, because the circuit court failed to make specific findings of fact and conclusions of law relating to each issue presented in accordance with Mississippi Code Annotated section 99-39-23(5) (Rev. 2015), we must reverse and remand for resentencing with the required discussion of the errors asserted in Beal's PCR motion.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         ¶4. It is well settled that when reviewing judgments regarding PCR motions, "[w]e will not disturb the trial court's factual findings unless they are found to be clearly erroneous." Mann v. State, 2 So.3d 743, 745 (¶5) (Miss. Ct. App. 2009). Questions of law are reviewed de novo. Id.

         DISCUSSION

         ¶5. Section 99-39-23(5) provides that:

If the court finds in favor of the petitioner, it shall enter an appropriate order with respect to the conviction or sentence under attack, and any supplementary orders as to rearraignment, retrial, custody, bail, discharge, correction of sentence or other matters that may be necessary and proper. The court shall make specific findings of ...

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