OF JUDGMENT: 01/11/2018
SIMPSON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. STANLEY ALEX SOREY, TRIAL
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY:
W. DANIEL HINCHCLIFF
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY:
BILLY L. GORE
DISTRICT ATTORNEY: MICHAEL GUEST
Mark Hicks appeals from his conviction in the Simpson County
Circuit Court of possession of stolen property as a habitual
offender. Hicks argues that the circuit court improperly
allowed evidence of past crimes in violation of Rule 404(b)
of the Mississippi Rules of Evidence. After review of the
record, we find that the court did not err, and we affirm.
In April 2015, a truck was stolen from Stamper Trucking
Company in Louisiana. Seventeen days after the truck was
stolen, the Simpson County Sheriff's Department executed
an arrest warrant from Rankin County on Hicks. While
executing the warrant, Investigator Bryan Buckley and Deputy
Joe Andrews discovered the stolen truck. The truck was
running, and Hicks was beside the vehicle.
Hicks denied that the truck was stolen and claimed that he
owned the truck, but the ignition was dislodged from the
dashboard and was hot wired. And the truck had "R.
Stamper" painted on the door. Hicks was arrested and
taken into custody.
At a pretrial hearing, Hicks's counsel orally presented a
filed motion in limine to "prohibit introduction of any
kind of evidence of other crimes or bad character" of
Hicks. As part of this motion, Hicks wanted to exclude from
the jury any evidence of why the deputies were with Hicks the
night he was arrested. The State argued that it was
"entitled to be able to tell its story of events"
but that "[the State] is not going to specifically bring
up the incident in Rankin County," where the arrest
warrant for Hicks was issued. The court ruled that the
deputies would only testify that the reason they were at
Hicks's home was because "there [was] a warrant from
At trial, the State questioned Deputy Andrews about how he
Q. Okay. If you would, tell us how you came to have contact
with Mr. Hicks on that day.
A. We were looking for Mr. Hicks to serve an arrest warrant
from another county.
testimony was in direct violation of the circuit court's
initial ruling because the warrant was characterized as an
"arrest warrant." Yet Hicks's counsel did not
object. Again, when the State questioned ...