JOANIE TIACHELLA CALLOWAY A/K/A JOANIE CALLOWAY A/K/A JOANNIE CALLOWAY APPELLANT
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE
OF JUDGMENT: 05/09/2017
FORREST COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT TRIAL JUDGE: HON. ROBERT B.
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER
BENJAMIN SUBER GEORGE T. HOLMES
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL KAYLYN
DISTRICT ATTORNEY: PATRICIA A. THOMAS BURCHELL
A Forrest County jury found Joanie Calloway guilty of being
an "attempted accessory after the fact" of capital
murder, in violation of Mississippi Code Annotated sections
97-1-5 and 97-1-7 (Rev. 2014) and of hindering the
prosecution, in violation of Mississippi Code Annotated
section 97-9-103 (Rev. 2014). The trial court sentenced
Calloway to consecutive sentences of twenty years for
attempted accessory after the fact and five years for
hindering the prosecution, to be served in the custody of the
Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC). Calloway
appeals, arguing (1) the evidence was insufficient to support
her conviction for attempted accessory after the fact, (2)
cumulative errors in her trial require reversal, and (3) her
sentence for attempted accessory after the fact was
unconstitutionally disproportionate. We find no error and
affirm Calloway's convictions and sentences.
At approximately 7:30 p.m. on May 9, 2015, Hattiesburg Police
Department Officer Benjamin Deen stopped Calloway's
vehicle during a routine traffic stop, and his dash camera
automatically switched on. Calloway was traveling with three
passengers in her car, who were later identified as her
boyfriend, Marvin Banks, her friend, "Loco," and
her son. Banks sat in the front-passenger seat, and the other
two passengers sat in the back of the car. After Officer Deen
made contact with Calloway, he called for backup. Officer
Liquori Tate responded.
During trial, the video from Officer Tate's dash camera
was played for the jury and admitted into evidence. In the
video, Calloway and Banks can be seen moving around in the
car. Officer Deen informed Officer Tate that Calloway's
license was suspended and that Calloway's front-seat
passenger was putting something underneath his seat. Officers
Deen and Tate ordered Calloway and Banks out of the vehicle
to get them away from whatever had been stashed under the
font seat. In a written statement later given to law
enforcement and admitted into evidence, Calloway admitted
that, while inside the car, Banks retrieved a gun from his
waistline and said he was "going to kill the
motherf****rs." Calloway stated that she urged Banks to
put the gun away and he placed it under the passenger seat.
The dash-camera video showed that Calloway complied with
Officer Deen's request to exit the vehicle. Banks,
however, showed hesitancy in exiting. When Banks eventually
stepped outside the car, he grabbed the gun from beneath his
seat and shot Officer Dean in the temple. Calloway jumped
back in the car. Banks then shot Officer Tate and attempted
to shoot Officer Deen's dash camera. From within the car,
Calloway held her foot on the break and yelled, "Marvin,
get in, Marvin, Marvin." Banks continued shooting, and
Calloway drove off. After she did so, "Loco" jumped
out of the car.
Calloway drove until she encountered several barricades
blocking the street near an outdoor festival, and then she
exited her car. One of the festival goers, Marcia Goff,
testified that Calloway and her son approached her. Goff
stated that Calloway seemed jittery and very nervous.
Calloway stated, "I didn't do nothing. How could
this happen to me? I gave these two guys a ride and was going
to Fat Boys, and one of them reached over and turned the
blinker a different direction, and that's when the police
pulled us over." "I didn't know they were gonna
shoot at the police," Calloway added. Calloway told Goff
she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and needed
her medication, so Goff told her to sit down. Goff told
Calloway that she was going to have to call the police;
Calloway replied "yes[, ] and an ambulance."
Goff called 9-1-1 and spoke with an emergency-services
operator. During the call, Goff told the operator,
"[Calloway] was just a nice person and gave them a ride
because they needed a ride." Goff handed Calloway the
phone, and Calloway told the operator that she had taken
three Seroquil doses, was "f****d up," and could
not remember anything. Calloway gave her information to the
operator but handed Goff's phone back when the operator
began asking questions. The 9-1-1 call was played for the
jury and admitted into evidence as Exhibit 10.
Laron Smith testified that he was a sergeant with the
Hattiesburg Police Department in May 2015 and reported to
Calloway's location on a dispatch call. Smith said that
he encountered Calloway in an outdoor parking lot. She seemed
calm and appeared to be crying, but she was not shedding any
tears. Smith testified that Calloway told him two black males
had jumped inside of her car somewhere on Main Street. Smith
identified several locations on Main Street and asked
Calloway where she had been near, but she said she did not
know. As Smith questioned Calloway further, Calloway looked
down as she answered. Smith suspected that Calloway was not
being truthful. He read Calloway her
Miranda rights and placed her in his vehicle in
order to take her to the police department for an interview.
Smith testified that later, after Calloway indicated that she
was willing to talk to him, he again read Calloway her
Miranda rights and asked if she understood.
Initially Calloway did not say yes; instead, she stated,
"I told that motherf****r not to do that s**t."
Smith read Calloway her Miranda rights for a
third time, and Calloway said she understood her rights.
Calloway then told Smith that she and a man named
"Cuz" had been driving around the Mobile Street
area looking to buy marijuana. Calloway claimed she did not
know "Cuz's" real name. Calloway said that
while they were driving, "Cuz" offered her some
cocaine, and she declined because she had taken Seroquel for
her bipolar disorder. Smith asked if anyone else had been in
the car with Calloway, and she told him that her son and a
man named "Loco" had also been with her.
Smith further testified that Calloway told him she had been
pulled over by a police officer. Calloway said that
"Cuz" pulled out a gun, she told him to put it
away, and he put the gun under his seat. Calloway said that
the officer asked for her driver's license and went back
to his vehicle to run the identification Calloway gave him.
When the officer left, Calloway and "Cuz" began
talking. Calloway said "Cuz" pulled the gun back
out and said "I'm about to f*****g do this
s**t." Calloway told him not to. When the officer
returned to Calloway's car, he asked her to step outside.
Calloway told Smith that "Cuz" then exited the
passenger side of the vehicle and shot the police officer.
She also told Smith that she jumped back in her car and fled
the scene because she was scared. When Smith asked Calloway
to describe "Cuz's" attire, she said that he
had been wearing a white shirt, blue jean shorts, and some
plaid shoes. In the video from Officer Tate's dash
camera, Banks is wearing a dark shirt with colorful designs
of blue, pink, and orange. Smith said when he viewed the
dash-camera video, he immediately recognized Banks.
Lieutenant Lotosha Myers-Mitchell of the Hattiesburg Police
Department testified that she interviewed Calloway at the
police department. Lieutenant Myers-Mitchell stated that she
read Calloway her Miranda rights, and Calloway agreed
to speak with her. Calloway also signed a waiver form, which
was admitted into evidence as Exhibit 11. Lieutenant
Myers-Mitchell testified that in describing the shooting,
Calloway maintained that she did not know the two individuals
whom she gave a ride to but had purchased weed from them
before. Calloway gave a written statement describing the
traffic stop and shooting, which was published to the jury
and admitted into evidence as Exhibit 12. At 10:30 p.m.,
Lieutenant Myers-Mitchell showed Calloway a photo lineup, and
Calloway identified one of the men as "Cuz" and
wrote "looked like the passenger in my car" on an
accompanying form. The lineup and identification form were
admitted into evidence as Exhibits 13 and 14.
Master Sergeant Trent Weeks of the Mississippi Bureau of
Investigations also interviewed Calloway. Master Sergeant
Weeks testified that Calloway was "very calm"
during the interview. He said that Calloway told him she had
smoked some marijuana and had taken some bipolar medication
prior to the interview. Master Sergeant Weeks said he went
over Calloway's Miranda rights with her, and
Calloway signed and initialed a waiver of her rights. The
signed waiver, executed at 12:16 a.m., was admitted into
evidence as Exhibit 16. Master Sergeant Weeks explained that
the interview was video and audio recorded. The video of
Calloway's interview was subsequently received into
evidence as Exhibit 17 and published to the jury.
Early in her interview with Master Sergeant Weeks, Calloway
again claimed that she picked up "Cuz" and his
friend, "Loco," maintaining that she did not know
either man's real name. She said that after an officer
stopped her vehicle, "Cuz" pulled a gun from his
waistline and stated, "we ain't going to jail."
Calloway also gave a written statement to Master Sergeant
Weeks, in which she claimed that "Cuz" said
"he was going to kill the motherf****rs." Her
written statement was admitted into evidence as Exhibit 18.
Master Sergeant Weeks testified that Calloway only began
referring to "Cuz" by his real name after
Banks's name was broadcasted over the radio.
Aaron Thomas, a friend of Banks's also testified for the
State. Thomas said that he had known Banks since 1995 or 1996
and grew up across the street from Banks in Hattiesburg.
Thomas testified that in May 2015 he and Banks still lived
across the street from each other. Thomas said that during
that time, Banks and Calloway were in a relationship and had
been dating for roughly six months. Thomas said that Calloway
knew Banks's real name, knew where he lived, and visited
him roughly three to four times a week. Thomas testified that
on the day of the shooting, Calloway and Banks had spent time
together at his mother's house.
After the State rested its case, Calloway moved for a
directed verdict as to attempted accessory after the fact and
hindering the prosecution. The motion was denied. Calloway
did not present any witness testimony in her defense.
Following jury deliberations, the jury found Calloway guilty
of being an attempted accessory after the fact of capital
murder and guilty of hindering the prosecution in the first
degree. Calloway subsequently filed a motion for a judgment
notwithstanding the verdict or, in the alternative, a new
trial. The trial court denied Calloway's motion, and she
has timely appealed.
I.Sufficiency of the ...