Booker v. MississippiAnnotate this Case
Defendant Chad Booker was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to twenty years' imprisonment. Defendant unsuccessfully appealed his sentence to the Court of Appeals. On appeal to the Supreme Court, Defendant argued multiple errors at the trial court entitled him to a new trial. The majority for the Court of Appeals found no merit in Defendant's arguments. Though it affirmed the appellate court's holding, the Supreme Court took the opportunity to expand upon points in the Court of Appeals' discussion on "Weathersby v. State" and whether the "Weathersby Rule" was correctly interpreted by the lower courts in Defendant's case. In sum, the rule applies where a defendant or his witnesses are the only eyewitnesses to the homicide: "Their version, if reasonable, must be accepted as true unless substantially contradicted in material particulars by a credible witness or witnesses for the state, or by the physical facts of the common knowledge." In Defendant's case, the Weathersby rule was inapplicable because Defendant's own version of the incident satisfied the elements of manslaughter. Furthermore, Defendant's version was substantially contradicted "in material particulars" by witnesses presented at trial. The Supreme Court found that the trial judge correctly found Weathersby inapplicable and properly permitted this case to go to the jury.