Small v. MississippiAnnotate this Case
Dewayne Small was convicted by jury of felony exploitation of a vulnerable adult. The charge stemmed from Small and his girlfriend cashing twenty checks totaling more than $12,000 written by 79-year-old Charlotte Davis. Small claimed he was performing yard work for Charlotte, a widow who lived alone. But after viewing photographs of a half-cut tree, piles of debris, unraked leaves, overgrown shrubs, and other evidence of a scam, the jury rejected his argument. Based on the guilty verdict, the trial judge sentenced Small as a habitual offender to ten years in prison without the possibility of parole. On appeal, Small challenged the weight and sufficiency of the evidence presented against him at trial. Small also filed a pro se supplemental brief: challenging his habitual- offender status; and claiming the jury was tainted because the trial court did not strike for cause a juror who had previously worked with the police officer who testified against Small. Finding no reversible errors, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed Small's conviction.