Appeals court affirms two area sentences

By Patsy R. Brumfield
Daily Journal

JACKSON – Stanley Luster’s conviction for burglarizing a Lafayette County dwelling was affirmed Tuesday by the Mississippi Court of Appeals.

The 10-0 vote also affirmed his sentencing as a habitual offender.

Luster is serving a 25-year sentence without possibility of parole.

A circuit court jury convicted him in August 2011 of taking a television set from an apartment.

Luster appealed, saying the verdict was against the overwhelming weight of evidence and that the court was wrong to sentence him as a habitual offender.

On examining his appeal, Judge Virginia Carlton wrote for the court that trial evidence showed he was not in a local restaurant parking lot, where he contended he was during the burglary. A witness also identified his car as the one observed parked outside the apartment complex where the burglary occurred.

Carlton also wrote that trial Judge John Gregory was not disqualified from presiding over the case, even though he was a prosecutor who signed Luster’s indictment for one of the felonies the state used to qualify him as a habitual offender.

In another 10-0 decision, the court affirmed Judge James L. Roberts Jr.’s decision to dismiss post-conviction review for Tracy Handy’s probation revocation because it was a second appeal, which is not allowed.

Handy was convicted in 2005 of fondling and sentenced to 15 years in prison, with 10 years suspended. When he began his five-year supervised release, he was arrested for and admitted to domestic violence.

The court revoked his suspended sentence and ordered him back to prison for five years.

Handy appealed, saying the court was wrong to revoke his suspended sentence, saying he was denied due process.

But the Court of Appeals said Handy did not specify how his rights were infringed and noted he raised “the exact same issues” as in his first motion for relief.

patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com