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May v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

December 11, 2018

CAMERON DWAYNE MAY A/K/A CAMERON D. MAY A/K/A CAMERON MAY APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 03/24/2017

          JACKSON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, HON. DALE HARKEY JUDGE.

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

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: JOSEPH SCOTT HEMLEBEN.

          DISTRICT ATTORNEY: ANTHONY N. LAWRENCE III.

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

          GREENLEE, J.

         ¶1. Cameron May challenges his convictions for two counts of aggravated assault (Counts I and II), one count of sexual battery (Count III), and one count of kidnapping (Count IV). The Jackson County Circuit Court sentenced him to serve twenty years for Count I, twenty years for Count II, thirty years for Count III, and thirty years for Count IV. His sentences for Counts II, III, and IV are to run concurrently with each other, but consecutively to Count I, all in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections. May appeals.

         ¶2. On appeal, he alleges that: (1) double jeopardy bars his two aggravated-assault convictions; (2) evidence is insufficient to sustain his sexual-battery conviction; (3) evidence is insufficient to sustain his kidnapping conviction; and (4) the circuit court erred when it denied his motion to suppress his statement to the police. Finding error, we affirm in part and reverse and render in part.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶3. May scoured Ocean Springs for a victim. In the hapless Barbara Jalanivich, he found one. After feigning interest in a rental at the apartment complex where Jalanivich worked, May closed Jalanivich's office door, blocked her exit, and then beat and strangled her until she lost consciousness. When she came to, her undergarments and shoes were removed, and the door to her office was locked. She immediately sought help from complex residents; they called the police and Jalanivich's relatives.

         ¶4. Police questioned Jalanivich, and she told them and her father that she may have been raped. They then took her to the hospital. There, nurses documented her injuries and performed a sexual-assault examination, documenting Jalanivich's vaginal redness and deep bruising inside her vagina.

         ¶5. May fled to Florida, where police officers arrested him. During questioning, May admitted to having battered and strangled Jalanivich, but he denied having sexual intercourse with her. When he invoked his right to counsel, the police officers stopped the interview.

         ¶6. In March 2017, a jury convicted May for two counts for aggravated assault (Counts I and II), one count for sexual battery (Count III), and one count for kidnapping (Count IV). The Jackson County Circuit Court then sentenced him to serve twenty years for Count I, twenty years for Count II, thirty years for Count III, and thirty years for Count IV. Counts II, III, and IV were to run concurrently with each other, but consecutively to Count I, all in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

         ¶7. May filed a motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV) or, in the alternative, a new trial, which the circuit court denied. He appeals, asserting that: (1) double jeopardy bars his two aggravated-assault convictions; (2) evidence is insufficient to sustain his sexual-battery conviction; (3) evidence is insufficient to sustain his kidnapping conviction; and (4) the circuit court erred when it denied his motion to suppress his statement to the police.

         DISCUSSION

         I. Does double jeopardy bar May's two aggravated-assault convictions?

         ¶8. "We apply a de novo standard of review to claims of double jeopardy." Kelly v. State, 80 So.3d 802, 804 (¶8) (Miss. 2012) (quoting Boyd v. State, 977 So.2d 329, 334 (¶14) (Miss. 2008)).

         ¶9. May asserts that his right under the Fifth Amendment not to be twice put in jeopardy for the same offense is violated by the two aggravated-assault convictions.[1] He first raised this issue before trial and continues to raise it on appeal.

         ¶10. The Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment provides: "[N]or shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb . . . ." U.S. Const. amend. V; see also Miss. Const. art. 3, § 22 ("No person's life or liberty shall be twice placed in jeopardy for the same offense; but there must be an actual acquittal or conviction on the merits to bar another prosecution.").[2]

         ¶11. The State asks us to look to the Blockburger (or "same-elements") test in determining May's double-jeopardy claim. In Blockburger, the United States Supreme Court held that "where the same act or transaction constitutes a violation of two distinct statutory provisions, the test to be applied to determine whether there are two offenses or only one, is whether each provision requires proof of a fact which the other does not." Blockburger v. United States, 284 U.S. 299, 304 (1932). The State argues that May's two convictions do not stem from the same act. Rather, the State purports they stem from two different ones: (1) May beating Jalanivich; and (2) May strangling Jalanivich.

         ¶12. The jury instructions mirror the stated assertion. The instruction for Count I asked the jury to find May guilty if he "willfully, unlawfully and feloniously cause[d] serious bodily injury, to-wit: causing a mandible fracture, pterygoid fracture and biltateral intraparenchymal subarchnoid hemorrhages" to "Jalanivich by striking her face and head . . . ." The instruction for Count II asked the jury to find May guilty if he "willfully, unlawfully and feloniously cause[d] bodily injury, to-wit: causing ...


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