Thursday, January 28, 2016

Criminal Case of Interest

My intent is to start adding criminal cases of interest to this blog.  Family law and personal injury often overlap into criminal cases.  Additionally, it is not uncommon to be defending a criminal case for a client when a divorce is filed as a result.

On Tuesday, the Mississippi Court of Appeals decided Land v. State located here.  Land was charged with convicted of armed robbery, aggravated assault,  and possession of a firearm by a felon for robbing a man he and his friend saw leaving  Walmart.  They saw the man counting his money as he walked so Land got out and shot him in the leg.   A security camera was able to tell law enforcement that shooter’s tag number.  On appeal Land argued that the trial court erred in allowing a police officer  to provide a narration of the surveillance videos shown to the jury and that the  trial court erred in allowing into evidence the shoes of Land’s friend, Sedrick Miles, when the shoes had not been  produced during discovery.

As far as the narration, the COA holds that “Lieutenant Jackson did not possess firsthand knowledge of the events recorded on the Walmart surveillance video. As a result, Lieutenant Jackson should not have been allowed under Rule 701 to offer opinion testimony regarding the actions in the video. However, in considering the totality of the evidence before the trial court, the error was, at best, harmless.” As for the discovery issue, Land waived it “because he failed to request a continuance or a mistrial, which is a requirement under Rule 9.04.”

To me, looks like the best evidence rule would have been a better objection on the video.  It is good to note though what is required when the prosecution pulls out surprise evidence. 

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