Court cites inadmissable evidence, grants Robinson retrial

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

JACKSON – Floyd Robinson will get a new murder trial because Circuit Judge Lee Howard was wrong in allowing inadmissible evidence in 2007, the Mississippi Supreme Court said unanimously Thursday.
Writing for the court, Justice Michael Randolph said the Court of Appeals also was wrong when it agreed with Howard that a three-hour DVD interview with Robinson did his defense no harm because he later testified to explain what had happened.
“Subsequent testimony does not cure this error,” Randolph wrote in the opinion.
Robinson was indicted for murder in the 2005 shooting death of his girlfriend, Bridget Moore. He claimed she attacked him in a jealous rage and that the gun she carried went off accidentally during a struggle.
During the Oktibbeha County trial, Howard overruled a defense objection and allowed the DVD to be shown to the jury with Robinson’s admissions about prior domestic violence incidents involving another girlfriend.
Robinson took the stand in his own defense to try to mitigate the DVD’s impact, which Randolph said was forced by the court error, compromising Robinson’s constitutional right to testify or not.
The case will go back for a new trial.
In a 5-4 decision in another Oktibbeha County case, Justice George Carlson affirmed Howard’s decision to deny contractor Walter Akins’ appeal in a lawsuit against Golden Triangle Planning and Development District.
Akins contended Howard was wrong when he ruled that Golden Triangle was not liable for an employee’s embezzlement of $80,628 construction funds, which Akins said he should have been paid.
Randolph wrote the dissent, saying that while the employee’s stealing was not within the scope of her employment, genuine questions remain about whether both the employee and GTPDD committed the offense against Akins.
He was joined in the dissent by justices Jess Dickinson, Ann Lamar and David Chandler.

Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or patsy.brumfield@djournal.com.