Recently in Criminal Law Category

July 23, 2014

Multiple Drug and Burglary Arrests in Clinton

Last week, at least nine arrests were made in connection with a burglary and drug raid in Clinton. According to WJTV News Channel 12, a burglary at the Shell convenience store on Clinton Boulevard and a drug raid at a house on Suzy Lane were connected through various suspects. Initial reports indicate that nine people were arrested in connection those crimes and a variety of other crimes around Jackson.

Shell Store Burglarized

At around 2:30 a.m. on Monday morning, the Shell store on Clinton Boulevard was burglarized by two suspects. Law enforcement officers did acquire in-store video footage of the suspects. One of the suspects apparently had a distinctive tattoo.

Suzy Lane Drug Bust

On Monday evening, officers took Edward Burtts into custody as a result of a drug bust on Suzy Lane. Because of a tattoo, they allegedly connected Burtts to the Shell store burglary and other burglaries around South Clinton. An additional suspect, William E. Weeden, was also taken into custody in connection with the burglary.

Seven Additional Arrests

Law enforcement officials from various agencies made an additional seven arrests in connection with these two incidents and other crimes. Additional charges from the Jackson Police Department, Hinds County Sherriff's Department and the Madison Sherriff's Office may be pending.

Drug Arrests

Some of the suspects are facing a variety of charges ranging from possession of paraphernalia to possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell. With mandatory minimums, even the mildest of these charges could carry heavy penalties, so accused parties should contact experienced criminal defense attorneys with proven drug case experience swiftly for the best possible outcome.

Burglary Arrests

It sounds like both Edward Burtts and William Weeden are facing multiple charges from various jurisdictions, with additional charges pending. Burglary, larceny and robbery convictions can also carry heavy sentences, so it would be unwise to trust your case to an inexperienced attorney or an overburdened public defender. Nothing is more important than making sure your rights are being protected during a criminal case. Whether you're facing misdemeanor or felony charges in state or Federal courts, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible for the best representation.

Continue reading "Multiple Drug and Burglary Arrests in Clinton" »

July 16, 2014

Drug Bust in Hinds County

On Sunday, a drug bust in Hinds County landed 41-year-old Anthony Demond Thompson in jail. The incident happened at around 7:00 p.m. at 557 Kirkley Drive in Jackson. According to WJTV News Channel 12, deputies found five pounds of high grade marijuana, scales, cell phones and a small caliber hand gun during their search. Thompson's mother was also questioned on the scene. Very few details have been released about this bust, which is being called an ongoing investigation. WJTV News did report that law enforcement authorities are hoping to arrest more people in combination with this bust.

After a Drug Arrest

After any kind of arrest involving drugs, whether you're facing state or federal charges, you need to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can ascertain whether or not you were lawfully searched and be your advocate during this difficult time. Even first-time nonviolent offenders can face heavy sentences due to mandatory minimums.

Continue reading "Drug Bust in Hinds County" »

July 9, 2014

Madison County Drug Arrest

Last week, a man in Madison County was arrested for allegedly having 10 pounds of marijuana and 125 doses of ecstasy in his possession. According to WJTV News Channel 12, Fred Carvin Jr. was charged with possession of marijuana and ecstasy with intent to distribute. He was released from jail on a $10,000 bond.

The arrest happened on I-55 near exit 125. Apparently, he was pulled over, and law enforcement officials claimed to have smelled marijuana in the vehicle, which Carvin denies. They searched the automobile and found a small bag of marijuana and then found 10 pounds in the trunk along with the ecstasy.

Due to the amount of Marijuana involved, if convicted Carvin could face very stiff sentencing, even if he's a first time offender. If you or a loved one has been arrested and charged with possession, contact the skilled criminal defense team at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC today.

The State of Mississippi recently enacted H.B. 585 which made substantial changes in many criminal punishments. However substantial amounts of drugs still carry very harsh punishments. This gentlemen needs to get legal counsel immediately.

Merrida Coxwell and Charles Mullins are two (2) of the partners at Coxwell & Associates. Both are experienced attorneys due to the number of cases they have handled and the complexity of cases. While many other lawyers advertise "they have experience" a search of their legal backgrounds show otherwise. A search of Merrida Coxwell and Chuck Mullins on Google produces page after page of stories about real cases. If you have a criminal problem or have incurred a serious injury, call Merrida Coxwell or Chuck Mullins at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC.

July 3, 2014

I-55 Drug Bust in Jackson

On Tuesday night, three people were arrested in a drug bust on I-55. According to WJTV News Channel 12, the three suspects, Jill Norman, Niesha Moore and Brandy Cain, were all charged with possession of meth and possession of paraphernalia. Two of the suspects were booked in the Hinds County Jail and released. The third suspect allegedly had an outstanding warrant and was taken to the Rankin County Jail.

WJTV News reports that this is an ongoing investigation, and officials with the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics expect to make additional arrests. Very few details about the bust have been released, but if you or a loved one is facing drug possession and paraphernalia charges, contact the skilled criminal defense team at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC today. Whether you're facing charges in federal or state court, our experienced defense attorneys are ready to fight for your rights.

June 27, 2014

MHP Chopper Locates Eleven Marijuana Plants

On Wednesday, the Mississippi Department of Public Safety's (DPS) new helicopter took its maiden-mission flight. By 3:30 p.m., 11 marijuana plants were located and seized. According to WJTV News Channel 12, the Mississippi Highway Patrol (MHP) is working with the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics in an attempt to eradicate marijuana growth around the state. This particular mission was conducted in Tchula.

No information was released on whether or not any charges were made, so it's possible that this seizure was conducted without any arrests. If you or a loved one is facing drug procession or trafficking charges of any kind, at the state or federal level, contact the skilled attorneys at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC at (228) 248-1600 for a case consultation today.

June 27, 2014

Cocaine Possession Arrest in Vicksburg

Last week, a 20-year-old Vicksburg man was arrested for possession of cocaine. According to WJTV News Channel 12, Karllandys Demichael Clark was arrested during a traffic stop. As of last Friday, he was being held without bond and awaiting his initial court appearance at the Issaquena County Correctional Facility. According to WJTV News, law enforcement officers found a bottle containing crack cocaine and powder cocaine during a traffic stop which happened at Drummond and Realty Streets.

Inequality and The War on Drugs

Sadly, the so-called "War on Drugs" does little more than highlight the overwhelming inequality for people of various social classes across the country. With more people in prisons and jails than ever, and increasingly high recidivism rates, it's easy to study the war on drugs as socio-economical class warfare. One of the clearest examples of the war on drug's class-warfare agenda is how different sentences, mandatory minimums and punishments are utilized for different types of drugs. Typically, drug forms that are used more often by people in lower socio-economic classes often carry much higher sentences. A good example of this inequality is the difference between an arrest for cocaine and an arrest for crack cocaine.

Crack Versus Cocaine Charges

Sentencing and mandatory minimums are often much higher for drug cases where crack cocaine is involved than where traditional cocaine is involved. In the early 1990's the general public was lead to believe that crack was infinitely more dangerous than cocaine, and harsher sentences were adopted. The same can be said for methamphetamine sentencing as well. Both of these drugs share a common theme, they're typically used by people who are in a lower socio-economic category than say, powder cocaine drug users or even marijuana users, in some cases.

What to do After a Drug Arrest

After any drug arrest, is absolutely critical to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can be your advocate during a difficult time. Don't trust your fate to an overburdened public defender. Depending on what type of drug was involved, you could be looking at a minimum of 10 years for certain charges, even if you're a first-time offender. Contact the experienced team at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC for skilled representation in state and federal court at (228) 248-1600.

June 20, 2014

MBN Drug Bust

$100K MBN Drug Bust
On Wednesday, a drug-bust involving federal, state and local law enforcement agencies landed a Gulf Coast man in jail. According to WJTV News Channel 12, over $100,000 in marijuana was seized, along with over $40,000 in cash, eight firearms and two automobiles. Clifton Barry Hall, 60 years old, of D'Iberville, was arrested earlier in the day, prior to the big bust. He allegedly had more than a kilogram of marijuana on him and was charged with intent to distribute.
Hall is being held on a $25,000 bond at the Harrison County Adult Detention Facility. At this time, very few details about this drug bust have been released. WJTV News reports that this arrest was somehow connected to a 10-month investigation being conducted by local, state and federal authorities. If you or a loved one is facing state or federal drug charges, contact the experienced team at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC at (228) 248-1600 today.

June 20, 2014

Do You Know Your Rights?

Everybody knows what "pleading the fifth" means, but do you really understand your rights? If you're pulled over by a police officer or taken into custody, do you know what to do? Chances are, you may have a pretty good idea, but you're still a little fuzzy on the details. After all, you know you have the right to remain silent, but that's easier said than done, when an imposing authority figure begins drilling you with questions. Nobody can take your rights away from you. Should you ever be arrested, detained or questioned for any reason you need to have a full and complete understanding of your rights.

Just the Basics

• The Fourth Amendment protects individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures.
• The Fifth Amendment protects an individual's right against self-incrimination.

The Fourth Amendment: Just the Facts

Under the Fourth Amendment, you do have the right to refuse consent of car or home searches. You don't have to consent to a search, just because a police officer asks you. In the eyes of the law, a seizure must be reasonable. Did the officer use physical force or a show of authority? Were you detained? In some cases, it may be difficult to recognize a show of authority.

Need to Know: Fifth Amendment

Under the Fifth Amendment, you do have the right not to speak with police officers. If you're being arrested, ask to contact your lawyer. Even if you've been read your "Miranda Rights," you still might think it's okay to talk to police officers. Don't throw away your right against self incrimination. Instead of talking to the police, talk to your lawyer.

Protecting Your Rights

More often than you would think, a misunderstanding of one's rights can land them in jail or prison. In addition to understanding and exercising your Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights, skilled representation is an absolute necessity. The most important thing you can do after any arrest is contact a skilled criminal defense attorney. If your rights have been violated, or evidence has been obtained unlawfully, an experienced criminal defense attorney can file a motion to suppress the illegally-obtained evidence and help protect your rights. If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime at the state or federal level, contact the skilled team at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC for experienced representation.

June 17, 2014

Warren County Church Break-in

Last week, two men were arrested for stealing various items from a church, a farm and a hunting camp in Warren County. According to WJTV News Channel 12, 23-year-old Brian Odom and 21-year-old Gary Guillot allegedly broke into Bovina Baptist Church, Oxbow Hunting Camp and Red Bird Farms. They've been charged with grand larceny, burglary and two counts of business burglary.

They're accused of stealing a variety of different items including an 88-inch TV and four wheelers. The Warren County Sheriff's Office is also trying to determine if anybody knowingly purchased the allegedly stolen goods from the suspects. The new law going into effect July 01, 2014, will define house burglary as a violent crime. This means the person would have to serve at least 50% of the sentence before being eligible for parole.

If you're facing any kind of burglary or larceny charges, contact the skilled criminal defense team at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC at (877) 231-1600 for a free case consultation today.

June 16, 2014

21 Marijuana Plants Found in Attala Home

Last week, 21 marijuana plants were found in an Attala County home. According to WJTV News Channel 12, 25-year-old Mickele Roby was arrested on Thursday and charged with manufacture of marijuana. Apparently, law enforcement officers were at the home serving an unrelated warrant when they found the plants, two handguns and various pieces of growing equipment. Roby's bond was set at $5,000.

The War on Drugs

The privatization of prisons and the war on drugs have made locking up non-violent drug offenders a booming business. First-time and non-violent offenders can be locked up virtually indefinitely depending upon the amount of drugs they're charged with. The Prison Policy Initiative (PPI) estimates that about 2.4 million people are locked up in the United States. The War on Drugs and mandatory minimums can largely be thanked for this disturbingly high number of incarcerated Americans.

Mandatory Minimums

Mandatory minimum sentences are common in drug cases at the Federal level. This means that if you've been charged with a certain crime, there is a mandatory prison sentence involved. They don't look at individual circumstances or take into account your unique situation. The judge doesn't have any discretion when mandatory minimums are involved. If convicted, you have to serve a sentence that does little to rehabilitate or foster a better future for reducing recidivism. It's important to note that the harshest penalties are given in cases where crack cocaine and crystal meth are involved. Of course, these cases hand out the harshest sentences to individuals that often lack the resources to hire skilled representation.

The Mississippi Legislature has recently passed new laws that slightly lower some of the punishments for drug offenses and require the greater use of drug courts. For too many years first offenders have been incarcerated instead of utilizing drug courts. While the Legislature could have gone further than they did, the new law is a good first start.

What to Do After a Drug Arrest

After a drug arrest of any kind, it's important to contact a skilled criminal defense lawyer with a proven record in both state courts and Federal District Court. Depending upon the amount of drugs seized, you could be facing mandatory minimums of 10 years or more, even if this is your first arrest. Don't leave your fate to chance. If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime, contact the skilled team at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC at (601) 948-1600 for a free consultation today. Our experienced team can represent you in both Mississippi state courts and Federal District Court. Our number-one priority is helping you achieve the most favorable resolution possible for your unique situation.

February 20, 2014

Need some help with a criminal case in Mississippi?

crime.jpgIf you are a frequent reader of my blogs (which I highly doubt you are) you will know that my law partner and mentor, Merrida Coxwell (nee "Buddy") is always urging me to blog about the cases I am fortunate enough to win. His theory is that people will see that we help people and more people will want to come and see us at Coxwell & Associates. Now this is a sound theory. What better way to market your skills than to let prospective clients know about your victories? Now Merrida is a marketing guru and he is the firm's Rainmaker. (For what it's worth, "The Rainmaker" was the best movie adaptation of all of John Grisham's books. If you haven't seen it I strongly suggest you watch it. But I digress.) My problem is I view posting such things as "bragging" and for all of my many shortcomings, I hate to brag. However, I do recognize that the legal field is a service industry and we have to let the public know what we do. So with that being said please allow me to tell you about one of my recent cases.

I had a client, we'll call him "Bobby" in order to protect his name. Bobby is a fine young man who is an artist at painting cars. You can see his artwork displayed all over Jackson. Well, Bobby found himself in a pickle and one of my former clients suggested that he come see me.

Bobby had just been arrested for murder. The facts showed that Bobby was going over to an apartment to get his hair cut. However, when he stepped into the apartment he was ambushed by several other men. It was a classic setup. Bobbyy was shot in the stomach during the fight. One of the other men who had been waiting to jump him was killed. Bobby was able to escape from the apartment and run down the street. Two men chased after him and fired at him and with automatic weapons. Bobby's friend came out to help him and was shot and killed. Before Bobby passed out, he was able to call 911 and report the incident. Bobby was taken to the hospital where the doctors worked frantically to save his life. They were not able to take the bullet out however.

Jackson Police detectives did a really good job of investigating the scene. They secured all the shells and projectiles and found one handgun left on scene. One detective wisely swabbed this weapon for possible DNA which came into play later. The witnesses who were interviewed gave inconsistent versions of what transpired; some flat out lied. The witnesses all stated that Bobby had been the aggressor and that he killed their friend.

Once Bobby was indicted I was able to obtain the police reports and the 911 call. Right away you could tell that the physical evidence did not match up with what the witnesses were saying. Bobby submitted to a DNA analysis and his DNA was not on the weapon which was found at the crime scene. The weapon was the one which was used to shoot Bobby. Further, the physical evidence showed that Bobby was shot at over 20 times by the men who were in the apartment.

The Hinds County District Attorney's office was also skeptical. They took a very hard look at the evidence as well and concluded that Bobby was actually a victim. Two of the men in the apartment were indicted for aggravated assault and the murder of Bobby's friend. The eyewitnesses recanted their statements. Bobby's charges were eventually dismissed.

Bobby's case was a classic example of being betrayed by people he thought were his friends. It's a good thing that Bobby was fortunate enough to have good lawyers working for him and also that the prosecutors kept an open mind.

Continue reading "Need some help with a criminal case in Mississippi? " »

January 30, 2014

One for the Road?

I've recently had several people call in about getting ticketed for having an open container of alcohol, usually in conjunction with being arrested for DUI. Many of these callers have all said the same thing: "But my friend told me there were no such things as open container laws in Mississippi! They can't arrest me for that!" In doing some research for this post, I also found this article on Huffington Post, which may be where my potential client's "friend" got his information. And while I still caution you on using any legal advice or information given to you by your friend--unless, of course, your friend is a lawyer--in the case of open container laws in Mississippi, he might be right.

Now before you start erecting a drive-thru daiquiri stand or open a bottle of your nicest cabernet sauvignon for the drive home, pay attention: although there is no statewide prohibition against having an open container in a car or on a street corner, most counties and cities do prohibit open containers. If you are caught with an open container in these places, you can get be ticketed for it, even though there is no statewide prohibition against it. Not only do most cities and counties prohibit open containers in vehicles, but there are 34 counties in Mississippi that are completely dry when it comes to hard liquor and 36 counties that are dry when it comes to beer and light wine. If you are driving through one of these "dry" counties with alcohol in your vehicle, whether or not it's in an opened container, you could face penalties for mere possession of these intoxicating substances.

But let's say you are lucky enough to be enjoying a drink while driving in a location without open container laws. Are you completely safe? Probably not. It's legal to have a drink while driving, but only if your blood alcohol content stays below the legal limit. What's more, if a law enforcement officer sees the Bud Light can you're sipping from, he then has probable cause to pull you over and inquire about your alcohol consumption. (Mayo v. State, 843 So.2d 739). Which, as we all know, can then lead to a number of problems.

Open container laws or not, always have a designated driver if you have been drinking. Sobriety is the only sure-fire way to "beat" a DUI charge. However, if you are stopped on suspicion of DUI, remain calm and polite when interacting with the officer. Everything you do and say will be recorded or written in a later report. Decline to take the portable breath test, the field sobriety tests, and the Breathalyzer test if you are arrested. For more information on DUI Do's and Don't's, see Merrida's post here.

If you do find yourself in the unfortunate situation of having been charged with open container, DUI, or any other criminal offense, please call the attorneys at Coxwell & Associates so that we may discuss your options. Our lawyers have more than 30 years' experience in dealing with serious criminal matters, and we use our time, energy, and intelligence to help those facing a daunting legal system.

January 13, 2014

Famous Jameis Winston: Is he a Victim of a Convict Quick Society?

prosecutors-were-telling-jokes-and-giggling-at-the-jameis-winston-sexual-assault-press-conference.jpgFor the uninformed, Jameis Winston is the star quarterback for Florida State who just led his team to the BCS Championship last week. Winston also became just the second freshman to win the Heisman Trophy. Alas, Winston is not the first star athlete to become embroiled in a sexual assault scandal.

According to the police reports, a young lady claimed that Winston raped her in December 2012. The unnamed victim reported the crime to the Tallahassee Police Department right after it happened but did not identify Winston as the accused until a month later. Police interviewed several witnesses, two of whom were Winston's teammates. The two teammates accidentally walked in on the pair engaged in what was described as consensual coitus. The teammates were asked by police if the girl acted as if the coitus was forced and they said "no, she told us to get out." Several eyewitnesses told police they observed Winston take the female home afterwards.

The Florida State Attorney decided it did not have enough evidence to file charges against Winston. The victim and her family expressed outrage through their attorney, Patricia Carroll. Carroll has announced plans to sue Winston, the Tallahassee Police Department and FSU.

I have to be honest. Even though I have been a criminal defense lawyer for almost 20 years I immediately think someone is guilty when I see a story like this. I guess it's just human nature. But then you get the "rest of the story" as Paul Harvey was fond of saying. Winston's teammates observed consensual sex. Other eyewitnesses saw Winston taking the victim home afterwards and there were no apparent problems. But the biggest problem I had is why did it take the victim almost a month to identify Winston as the alleged rapist?

When I see "gaps" like these it takes me immediately to the Duke Lacrosse story in which an African American woman from Durham, North Carolina accused several white lacrosse players from privileged Duke of brutally raping her. The Duke players hired the "victim" and another woman as strippers to perform at their fraternity house. The "victim" alleged that she was not only raped but subjected to racial slurs. The media convicted the Duke players almost immediately. The local district attorney also was quick to believe her despite the lack of evidence and the her shady past. Indictments quickly followed.

The Duke players, however, were able to hire some pretty good lawyers and they dismantled the case. The DA was eventually disbarred. The "victim" was later convicted of numerous crimes, including most recently killing her boyfriend. This entire situation would not have happened had the DA simply looked at the evidence objectively. The witness statement of the second stripper discredited the "victim". The DNA evidence did no corroborate her story either. She had also falsely claimed she was raped before. There is no doubt that the Florida State Attorney had the Duke case on his mind when considering the case against Winston.

Continue reading "Famous Jameis Winston: Is he a Victim of a Convict Quick Society?" »

January 9, 2014

The Knockout Game: Terrifying Trend or Media Madness?

If you follow the national news, you may have noticed multiple reports of an alarming trend that the media has dubbed "The Knockout Game." The "game" is to select an unsuspecting and unlucky target, then try to knock them out with one blow. Reports of this terrifying phenomenon have been popping up in urban areas across the country, from New York City to San Francisco. Some victims have allegedly been targeted because of their race, religion, or cultural heritage.
However, despite prevalent reporting by many large media outlets, many law enforcement officers are adamant that there is no game--just an upswing in reporting of random assaults. Law enforcement officials are reluctant to label these random attacks as a pattern of behavior and instead claim the prevalence of the "game" is nothing more than an urban myth. Many commentators, including the always-funny Jon Stewart, have noted that the media's emphasis on these attacks may be nothing more than over-hype and borderline hysteria. Many have pointed to the unfortunate truth that physical assault, whether random or targeted, has been occurring for decades.
Regardless of whether assault occurs as the result of a ridiculous game by teenagers or as a specific, targeted attack, assault is a serious crime in Mississippi. Under 97-3-7 of the Mississippi Code of 1972, there are two types of physical assault: simple assault and aggravated assault. A person may be guilty of simple assault if:
  • he attempts to cause bodily injury to another person;
  • he knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another person;
  • he negligently causes bodily injury to another person with a deadly weapon or other; means that are likely to produce death or serious bodily harm;
  • he uses physical menace to cause another to fear imminent bodily harm.
If convicted of simple assault, the perpetrator can be punished by a fine of up to $500.00 or a six-month jail stay. Simple assault upon a number of professions and state employees can increase the penalty to up to $1,000.00 or a five-year imprisonment.
A person may be guilty of aggravated assault if:
  • she attempts to cause serious bodily injury to another person;
  • she purposely, knowingly, or recklessly causes a serious bodily injury while under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to human life;
  • she attempts to cause or purposely or knowingly causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon or other means likely to produce serious bodily harm or death;
  • she causes death to a child in the process of boarding or exiting a school bus.
If convicted of aggravated assault, a perpetrator can be punished by up to a year in county jail or twenty years in the state Penitentiary. Again, aggravated assault against a state official or certain professionals can carry a punishment of up to $5,000 and a thirty-year imprisonment.
Assault is a serious crime with serious consequences. The bottom line is this: if you find yourself charged with assault--be it simple assault, aggravated assault, domestic violence, or any other assault-related crime--contact the attorneys at Coxwell and Associates. We are experienced, aggressive, and knowledgeable attorneys who will work tirelessly to help achieve the most favorable result under the facts. If you have a question about an assault or any other criminal charge, please call us for a complimentary consultation.
December 26, 2013

Protecting Your Identity During the Holiday Season

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Target made the news after 40 million credit card numbers were stolen between Black Friday and mid-December. This theft is being listed as the second largest credit card breach in United States history. Reportedly, the card information is being sold off in batches of one million cards at a time to anonymous buyers over the Internet.
We use credit and debit cards every day and most of us do not think twice about it. With the holiday season upon us, it seems like everyone is doing last minute shopping at places like Target to pick up last minute gifts. When we shop at these large stores, the last thing we want to worry about is whether our important information will be safe. There is nothing worse than thinking about your credit card information being sold to the highest bidder.

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