New trial in Claiborne Co. stolen property case, Appeals Court says

Published 11:30 am Thursday, February 27, 2014

A Claiborne County man will receive a new trial after the Mississippi Court of Appeals ruled that his 2012 conviction violated state law.

Jordan Davis of Claiborne County was granted a new trial this week when the appeals court ruled that he had been tried illegally for both stealing and receiving the same property.

“Dual charges of both stealing and receiving the same property shall not be brought against a single defendant in a single jurisdiction,” a portion of the Mississippi Code governing property law says.

Davis was convicted of receiving stolen property and found not guilty of auto theft and grand larceny in a trial before 22nd Circuit Court Judge Lamar Pickard.

Pickard sentenced Davis to four years in prison followed by four years’ probation. The public directory of Mississippi Department of Corrections did not list Davis as an inmate.

On Oct. 13, 2011, Davis and another man sold a John Deere tractor, which was later reported stolen, to Bulldog Scrap Metal for $784.80, according to court records.

On Nov. 8, 2011, they also sold a cotton trailer and a Chevrolet truck to the scrap yard. Both the truck and trailer were later reported stolen, according to court records.

The scrap yard gave Davis a total of $520 for the truck and trailer.

The majority of justices agreed to give Davis a new trial, though whether a new trial is legal under state law was left in limbo.

Four of the court’s 10 judges, including Ceola James of Vicksburg, ruled that there was not enough evidence or argument presented in the appeal to consider the issue of double jeopardy under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Presiding Judge Tyree Irving and Judge Donna M. Barnes disagreed in a dissenting opinion, potentially paving the way for Davis to appeal to a higher court.

“I cannot agree that davis can be legally retried for receiving stolen property,” Irving wrote. “I would reverse and render Davis’ conviction for receiving stolen property.”

Three justices agreed with the reversal but said that because jeopardy was attached to the theft counts for which Davis was acquitted.

Presiding Justice T. Kenneth Griffis is not listed in the opinion.

Davis was represented by George T. Holmes and Hunter Nolan Aikens with the Office of State Public Defenders. The state was represented by Ladonna C. Holland of the Attorney General’s Office.