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Arrington v. State

Supreme Court of Mississippi, En Banc

April 18, 2019

DEVIN LADARIOUS ARRINGTON a/k/a DEVIN LADARIUS ARRINGTON a/k/a DEVIN ARRINGTON
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 09/11/2017

          DeSOTO COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. CELESTE EMBREY WILSON TRIAL JUDGE.

          TRIAL COURT ATTORNEYS: ANGELA MARIE HUCK ROBERT R. MORRIS MICHAEL DARIN VANCE BERNARD C. JONES, JR. ASHLEY D. JONES

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: BERNARD C. JONES, JR. ASHLEY D. JONES

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: BARBARA WAKELAND BYRD

          ISHEE, JUSTICE.

         ¶1. Devin Ladarious Arrington was indicted by a DeSoto County grand jury for armed robbery. After jury selection, Arrington requested a continuance to allow him to retain new counsel, which was denied. During his attorney's opening statement, Arrington interrupted and declared that he did not want his counsel to continue representing him. After a jury trial, Arrington was found guilty. Arrington filed a Motion for J.N.O.V. or, in the Alternative, Motion for New Trial, which was also denied. Arrington now appeals. We affirm Arrington's conviction.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2. The facts surrounding the incident on November 29, 2014, are disputed. Arrington claimed he saw Janauris Blanch and confronted him because he believed Blanch had broken into his home in the past. Arrington testified that Blanch pulled a gun and that they got into a "scuffle." Arrington contends that he eventually got possession of the gun by grabbing a Dillards bag that the gun was on top of. The bag contained a Polo-brand shirt that Blanch had purchased earlier that day. Arrington claims that he then fled the scene with both the gun and the bag.

         ¶3. On the other hand, Blanch testified that when he arrived at his home, he noticed an unfamiliar car parked in front of his neighbor's house. A party was taking place in the neighborhood, [1] but Blanch found the parked car odd because his neighbor did not allow people to park in front of his house. Although Blanch claimed he was nervous about exiting his vehicle, he nevertheless decided to go inside. Blanch testified that Arrington, whom he did not know, exited the car, approached him, pointed a gun at him, robbed him, got in his vehicle, and fled the scene.

         ¶4. Shortly after the incident, Blanch reported the alleged robbery, and Arrington was stopped by an officer with the Southaven Police Department. An AR-15-type rifle, a black duffle bag, a gray hoodie, a black mask, a Glock handgun, and a Dillards bag containing a Polo-brand shirt were found in the trunk. Arrington was indicted for armed robbery on February 10, 2015.

         ¶5. After a number of continuances, trial was held on April 18, 2017. After the jury had been selected, Arrington requested yet another continuance. Arrington contended that he needed a continuance to retain new representation because he learned that his attorney, Darin Vance, had not hired a private investigator to seek out potential witnesses. Arrington testified that Vance had told him that he would hire a private investigator. But Vance contended that the day before trial was the first time Arrington had brought up hiring a private investigator. Vance also said that he interviewed the known witnesses and was unaware of any other potential witnesses to the incident. Arrington told the trial court judge that, the day before trial, Vance had told him that he was not prepared. Vance denied ever saying that he was not prepared for trial. The trial court denied Arrington's request for a continuance.

         ¶6. Arrington was found guilty as charged and filed a Motion for J.N.O.V. or, in the Alternative, Motion for New Trial, which was denied. Arrington now appeals.

         STATEMENT ...


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