Court to re-examine Lafayette sentence

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

JACKSON – Albert Joiner Jr. will get a chance to convince the Mississippi Supreme Court that his Lafayette County sentence was wrong.
Thursday, the court agreed 6-3, to grant Joiner’s petition for a hearing.
A Lafayette County grand jury indicted Joiner in October 2007 on two counts – felony flight and felon in possession of a deadly weapon.
He apparently signed an agreement to plead guilty to the flight count, but when Judge Andrew Howorth accepted that plea, Joiner was cited as a habitual offender.
Joiner was sentenced to four years in prison, to run after a sentence for strong-arm robbery.
Earlier this year, the Mississippi Court of Appeals affirmed his flight conviction, but the new decision reverses that, without comment.
Joiner’s trial and appeal attorney, James Minor of Oxford, wrote in his hearing petition that the count to which his client pleaded guilty did not charge him as a habitual offender.
Punishment generally is more severe for repeat offenders.
In the new petition, filed in September, Minor insisted that it was incorrect to sentence him as a habitual offender, when the indictment did not and was never amended to do so.
He describes such action as a denial of Joiner’s constitutional right to due process, guaranteed by the 14th Amendment.

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