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Haney v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

January 15, 2019

JODI HANEY A/K/A JODI ANN HANEY APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 11/30/2017

          ALCORN COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT TRIAL JUDGE: HON. JAMES SETH ANDREW POUNDS

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: JODI HANEY (PRO SE)

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

         EN BANC.

          WILSON, J., FOR THE COURT:

         ¶1. In this post-conviction proceeding, Jodi Haney alleges that her guilty plea was involuntary and that she pled guilty because of the ineffective assistance of her counsel. The circuit court denied and dismissed Haney's motion for post-conviction relief (PCR) as without merit. We agree with the circuit court that Haney's motion failed to allege a viable PCR claim. Therefore, we affirm.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2. In December 2015, an Alcorn County grand jury indicted Jodi Haney and Stephen Pharr for a drive-by shooting. See Miss. Code Ann. § 97-3-109 (Rev. 2014). In July 2016, Pharr decided to plead guilty and gave a written statement to law enforcement. Pharr stated that on April 14, 2015, he, Haney, a man known as "Big John," and a man known as "Skeet" met at a Taco Bell in Corinth to sell and trade certain illegal drugs. Pharr and Skeet did the sale/trade in the bathroom of the Taco Bell while Haney and Big John stayed in the car. Pharr, Haney, and Big John then drove back to Haney's home in Alabama. The next day, Pharr called Skeet to discuss a possible issue with the first transaction and to set up a second transaction. They made plans to meet again at the Taco Bell later that day.

         ¶3. Haney and Pharr drove to Corinth to meet Skeet. Pharr saw Haney's gun in the car, but he was not surprised because Haney usually had the gun with her. Pharr and Haney went to the Taco Bell, and Skeet arrived soon after. Another man approached Skeet's car and got inside, and Skeet then drove away. Pharr and Haney pursued Skeet's car. As they were driving, Pharr heard a gunshot. He turned to look at Haney "because [he] knew she had shot." Haney was holding her gun in her lap. As Pharr and Haney left Corinth, he asked her, "What the hell have you just done?" Haney calmly replied, "I just shot at him." Pharr and Haney then returned to Alabama. Pharr told Haney to get rid of the gun, but he did not know what she did with it. Two days later, Pharr and Haney were arrested for the shooting. ¶4. In July 2016, Pharr pled guilty as an accessory after the fact to the drive-by shooting. At his plea hearing, Pharr affirmed that his written statement was true, and the court admitted the statement into evidence as the factual basis for Pharr's plea. As part of his plea, Pharr agreed to testify against Haney. The State recommended a ten-year sentence with credit for time served, the balance of the sentence suspended, and five years of post-release supervision. The circuit court imposed the recommended sentence.

         ¶5. In her PCR motion, Haney claims that there was no evidence other than Pharr's statement to connect her to the shooting. Haney says that she was prepared to go to trial until Pharr made his statement to law enforcement. However, after Pharr implicated her in the shooting, Haney decided to enter an open guilty plea. Haney claims that her attorney advised her that she would receive a lesser sentence if she pled guilty. Thus, in July 2016 she entered an open guilty plea to drive-by shooting.

         ¶6. At Haney's plea hearing, she denied that she was under the influence of any alcohol, medicine, or other drug. She denied ever having psychiatric illnesses or mental diseases. She denied that anyone had threatened her or promised her anything in order to get her to plead guilty. She verified that she understood that she was waiving important rights, including her right to a jury trial and appeal. The judge stated that he intended to sentence Haney to twenty years with eleven years suspended. However, Haney stated that she understood that the judge could sentence her to the maximum sentence of thirty years' imprisonment. The judge then accepted Haney's guilty plea, finding that Haney pled guilty knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily.

         ¶7. Haney's sentencing hearing was held three days later. Consistent with the judge's statements during Haney's plea hearing, he sentenced her to twenty years in the custody of the Department of Corrections, with eleven years suspended and credit for time served.

         ¶8. In September 2017, Haney filed a PCR motion, alleging ineffective assistance of counsel. Haney's motion alleged that she is innocent and that her attorney could have proven her innocence if he had investigated the evidence against her and pursued other exculpatory evidence. Haney also alleged that her plea was involuntary because she was not informed that she would be ...


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