Conviction upheld; court cuts probation

Published 6:00 am Thursday, December 5, 2002

The Mississippi Court of Appeals has affirmed a Brookhaven man’sconviction on robbery, aggravated assault and car theft charges,but the court did grant the man a break on his post-releasesupervision sentence.

After pleading guilty in December 1999, Patrick Burnett, 23, wassentenced by Judge Mike Smith to a total of 12 years in prison and16 years of post release supervision.

In his appeal to the state court, Burnett claimed his guiltyplea to the robbery charge was involuntary because it was unclearwhat the minimum sentence would be. During the plea hearing, theminimum sentence was misstated as three years when it was actuallyzero.

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In a decision handed down Tuesday, the appeals court saidBurnett was not harmed by the mistake.

“Pleading under the assumption that the minimum penalty is threeyears when actually it is zero does not prejudice the defendant,”the court said.

On the individual charges, Burnett received four years in prisonand five years of post release supervision for robbery, four yearsin prison for car theft and four years in prison and 11 years ofpost release supervision on the aggravated assault charge. Theappeals court ruled the overall sentence of 12 years in prison and16 years of post release supervision did not exceed mandatedmaximum sentencing for the crimes committed.

However, addressing another point in Burnett’s motion, theappeals court ruled the 11 years of post-release supervisionordered on the aggravated assault charge exceeded the statutorymaximum of five years that could be given on a particular charge.The appeals court ordered the post-release supervision part of theaggravated assault sentence reduced to five years.

The result means Burnett will face a total of 12 years in prisonand 10 years of post release supervision. The appeals court sentthe case back to trial court for a new sentencing order inaccordance with the opinion.