Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Nash v. State

Supreme Court of Mississippi

January 9, 2020

WILLIE NASH a/k/a WILLIE COLE NASH
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 08/23/2018

          NEWTON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. MARK SHELDON DUNCAN TRIAL JUDGE

          TRIAL COURT ATTORNEYS: BRIAN KENNEDY BURNS BRITTANY WHITE BROWN MITCHELL DEE THOMAS

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY: W. DANIEL HINCHCLIFF

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: MATTHEW WYATT WALTON DISTRICT

          ATTORNEY: STEVEN SIMEON KILGORE

          BEFORE KING, P.J., MAXWELL AND GRIFFIS, JJ.

          MAXWELL, JUSTICE78j

         ¶1. A jury found Willie Nash guilty of possession of a cell phone in a correctional facility. Nash does not appeal the jury's verdict. He only challenges his sentence, twelve years in prison. He claims the twelve-year sentence is grossly disproportionate to the crime and thus violates the Eighth Amendment.

         ¶2. Though harsh, Nash's sentence falls within the statutory range of three to fifteen years. And the judge based his sentencing decision on the seriousness of Nash's crime and evidence of Nash's criminal history. Because Nash has not shown that a threshold comparison of the crime committed to the sentence imposed leads to an inference of gross disproportionality, no further analysis is mandated. We affirm Nash's conviction and sentence.

         Background Facts and Procedural History

         ¶3. While confined at the Newton County Jail on a misdemeanor charge, Nash asked a jailer for "some juice." At first, the jailer thought Nash was asking for something to drink. But then Nash slid across a cell phone that he had on his person. The jailer took the phone and gave it to the sheriff's deputy in charge. Nash later denied the phone was his. But when the deputy sheriff unlocked the phone-using the code Nash had given the jailer-he found photos of Nash, as well as a text-message exchange from the day Nash had handed over the phone in jail. The incoming message asked, "WYA" (short for "where you at"), and the outgoing message responded, "in jail."

         ¶4. A jury convicted Nash of possessing a cell phone in a correctional facility in violation of Mississippi Code Section 47-5-193 (Rev. 2015). Any person who violates Section 47-5-193 "shall be guilty of a felony and upon conviction shall be punished by confinement in the Penitentiary for not less than three (3) years nor more than fifteen (15) years . . . ."[1] Miss. Code Ann. § 47-5-195 (Rev. 2015). At Nash's sentencing hearing, the trial judge informed Nash that, while his crime may have seemed insignificant to him, there was a reason possessing a cell phone in a correctional facility "is such a serious charge." The judge also told Nash to "consider yourself fortunate." Based on Nash's prior burglary convictions, he could have been indicted as a habitual offender. This would have subjected him to a fifteen-year sentence to be served day for day. Miss. Code Ann. § 99-19-81 (Supp. 2019). The trial court sentenced Nash below the statutory maximum to a term of twelve years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections.[2]

         ¶5. Nash filed a motion for new trial challenging the sufficiency of the State's evidence and the trial court's evidentiary rulings. The ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.