Young v. MississippiAnnotate this Case
Earl Young was indicted for gratification of lust and was sentenced to fifteen years without the possibility of parole as a habitual offender. The trial court held a sentencing hearing; prior to the hearing, a “Pre-Post Sentence Investigation” report was submitted to the court, containing a section detailing Young’s prior criminal record. The report did not contain any information regarding the length of Young’s prior sentences for these felony convictions or the dates on which the incidents took place. Based on the report, the court found that Young had been convicted of two prior felonies and, therefore, sentenced Young as a habitual offender. On appeal, Young challenged the sufficiency of both the indictment and the evidence presented at sentencing used as grounds for his sentence. The Mississippi Supreme Court found Young's indictment argument was not preserved for appeal: because the indictment was defective as to its form and could have been amended in the trial court, Young’s failure to object at trial waived the issue, and Young was barred from raising it for the first time on appeal. The Court found that the pre-post sentence investigation report only included generalities regarding Young’s alleged prior convictions. It did not specify the statutes under which Young was convicted, the term of any sentences or whether the convictions clearly arose out of separate incidents at different times. "In fact, that information is completely absent from the record in this case." Because the State failed to prove that Young had at least two prior felony convictions that were brought and arose out of separate incidents at different times and that Young was sentenced to separate terms of at least one year for the prior convictions, Young was improperly sentenced as a habitual offender. Therefore, the Court reversed Young’s habitual offender sentence and remanded the case for his resentencing as a nonhabitual offender.