MILTON GRANT A/K/A MILTON D. GRANT APPELLANT
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE
OF JUDGMENT: 08/23/2017
COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT, HON. JEFF
WEILL SR. Judge.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY:
GEORGE T. HOLMES.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY:
ALICIA MARIE AINSWORTH.
DISTRICT ATTORNEY: ROBERT SHULER SMITH
BARNES, C.J., WESTBROOKS AND LAWRENCE, JJ.
Milton Grant was convicted of receiving stolen property
exceeding $1, 000 but less than $5, 000. The court sentenced
Grant as a habitual offender to life imprisonment without
eligibility for parole in the custody of the Mississippi
Department of Corrections. Grant appealed, raising three
issues: (1) whether the State presented sufficient evidence
as to the value of the stolen property; (2) whether the State
proved Grant's habitual offender status by competent
evidence; and (3) whether Grant's sentence is
unconstitutionally cruel and unusual. Because the State
failed to present sufficient evidence as to the value of the
stolen property, we reverse Grant's conviction and remand
for re-sentencing for misdemeanor receipt of stolen property.
Accordingly, we find his remaining issues moot.
On April 24, 2016, Christopher White was at the C&N
convenience store in Jackson, Mississippi. White used his
vehicle, a 2005 black Acura, to take patients to their
appointments, and he was waiting on his manager to bring him
the next day's routes. As White walked into the store to
buy some cigarettes, Grant approached him and asked if he
would like to buy some jewelry. White said "no."
Grant then asked White if he would buy him some cigarettes.
White said he would and walked into the store.
White walked out of the store and saw that his vehicle was
gone. His phone and gun were in the vehicle. He ran around
the corner to look for the vehicle but did not see it. White
went back into the store to call his brother and then the
When White's manager showed up, White explained to him
what happened. They rode together to White's house so
that he could get another gun. When they got back to the
store, the police still had not arrived. White called the
police again, and an officer said someone would be there in
White tracked his cell phone through an app on his
sister's phone and discovered that his phone was
somewhere near Cherry Street in Jackson. White's manager
agreed to take him to the phone's location. On his way
there, White saw two police officers and asked if they could
help him. The officers told White he would have to "call
it in." White called the police, again, and his manager
dropped him off at an Exxon gas station. White saw his
brother coming, so he stopped him and got into his vehicle.
They pulled into a Shell gas station and saw White's
vehicle. White and his brother waited for the police for
about fifteen minutes, but they never came. White saw his
vehicle leave the gas station. White and his brother followed
the vehicle through a neighborhood, then back to the gas
station. As Grant was exiting White's vehicle, White ran
up to the vehicle with his gun. White saw his driver's side
door open, so he planned to get in the vehicle and drive
away. Grant "started reaching" toward the vehicle.
White remembered that his gun was in the vehicle, so he shot
Grant to avoid being shot with his own gun.
Grant got back into White's vehicle to drive away but ran
into an air-hose assembly. He tried to fight White through
the driver's side window, but White hit him with the
barrel of his gun. Grant eventually escaped and ran into the
gas station. As White was leaving the gas station, Grant shot
at his vehicle and busted the back windshield. White
testified that the gun from his vehicle was gone.
"When th[e] Court reviews the sufficiency of evidence
supporting a guilty verdict, we view the evidence in the
light most favorable to the State and decide if rational
jurors could have found the State proved each element of the
crime." Lenoir v. State, 222 So.3d 273, 279
(¶25) (Miss. 2017). The relevant inquiry is
"whether any rational trier of fact could have found the
essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable
doubt." Jones v. State, 991 So.2d 629, 634
(¶11) (Miss. Ct. App. 2008) (internal quotation mark
Grant argues that the State failed to present sufficient
evidence as to the value of White's 2005 Acura. It is
axiomatic that the State has the evidentiary burden in a
criminal prosecution to prove every essential element of the
crime charged beyond a reasonable doubt. Williams v.
State, 111 So.3d 620, 624 (¶10) (Miss. 2013). This
burden of proof "never shifts from the State to the
defendant." Id. (quoting Sloan v.
State, 368 So.2d 228, 229 (Miss. 1979)).
Mississippi Code Annotated section 97-17-70(4) (Rev. 2014)
Any person who shall be convicted of receiving stolen
property which exceeds One Thousand Dollars ($1, 000.00) or
more, but less than Five Thousand Dollars ($5, 000.00) in
value shall be punished by imprisonment in the custody of the
State Department of Corrections for a term not exceeding five
(5) years or by a fine of not more than Ten Thousand Dollars
($10, 000.00), or both.
"The supreme court has held that when there is no proof
as to the value of an item, and value is an element of the
crime, then the State has failed to carry its burden."
Williamsv. State, 763 So.2d 186, 188
(Miss. Ct. App. 2000) (citing Henley v. State, 729
So.2d 232, 238 (Miss. 1998) (holding that value is an
essential element of grand larceny and that the failure to
prove value warrants reversal and remand for sentencing on
petit larceny)). "The proper measure of value in a