Henderson v. MississippiAnnotate this Case
Defendant Duane Henderson contacted April Newman through Facebook Messenger; she believed Henderson was offering to sell her methamphetamine. Newman contacted police suggesting she could set up a controlled drug delivery from Henderson. At a narcotics officer’s direction, Newman set up the controlled delivery. Officers then set up on Interstate 20, waiting for Henderson to drive by with the suspected drugs. Henderson consented to a search of his vehicle and person. When officers searched Henderson’s boots, they found a clear plastic bag containing methamphetamine. A grand jury returned a two-count indictment charging Henderson with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and possession of more than two but less than ten grams of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. The grand jury also charged Henderson as a subsequent drug offender and a habitual offender. At trial, the parties stipulated the bagged substance in Henderson’s boot was 3.16 grams of methamphetamine. The jury found Henderson guilty on both counts. The judge sentenced Henderson to twenty years on the conspiracy conviction. And on the possession with intent to distribute conviction, because Henderson was a subsequent drug offender, the judge exercised discretion and sentenced Henderson to forty years, double the statutory maximum. The judge ordered the two sentences to be served consecutively to one another and any other sentence Henderson was currently serving. Henderson’s appellate counsel filed a Lindsey brief, certifying there were no arguable issues for appeal. Henderson submitted several pro se filings. After review, the Mississippi Supreme Court determined the State failed to prove Henderson conspired with anyone to distribute methamphetamine; Newman’s involvement was, at most, a drug user, not a co-conspirator to distribute drugs. On this basis, the Supreme Court reversed the conspiracy conviction. The Court found sufficient evidence supporting the possession charge.