ITTA BENA, Miss.— The Mississippi Court of Appeals will convene on the campus of Mississippi Valley State University in Itta Bena at 1 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13. A three-judge panel will hear oral arguments in a criminal appeal at the Carver A. Randle Auditorium, located in the W.A. Butts Social Science Building.
The Court of Appeals periodically schedules oral arguments on college campuses and occasionally at other locations in its Court on the Road program. Court on the Road helps educate students and the public about the judicial system and appeals court proceedings. Judges will answer questions from students after the oral arguments but won’t talk about the pending case.
Court of Appeals Judge Latrice Westbrooks of Lexington said, “The Court on the Road program offers the opportunity for transparency and education. It will transform and elevate the public’s understanding of Mississippi’s judicial system. It also encourages civic engagement and exposes the public to the Court in a way that is not adversarial.”
The case to be heard is the criminal appeal of Rodolfo McCandless Falcon IV v. State of Mississippi, cause number 2019-KA-0248. Falcon was convicted in the Circuit Court of Rankin County of sale of methamphetamine and conspiracy to sell a controlled substance as a subsequent drug offender. Circuit Judge William E. Chapman III on Dec. 10, 2018, sentenced Falcon to 40 years with 10 years suspended for Count I and 20 years for Count II, with the sentences to run concurrently to each other. Falcon was sentenced as a habitual offender.
The appellant brief filed on behalf of Falcon may be viewed on the Mississippi Judiciary website at this link: https://courts.ms.gov/appellatecourts/docket/sendPDF.php?f=web0001.COA.2019-KA-248.24112.0.pdf&c=89753&a=N&s=2.
The brief filed by the office of the Attorney General is at this link: https://courts.ms.gov/appellatecourts/docket/sendPDF.php?f=web0001.COA.2019-KA-248.27390.0.pdf&c=89753&a=N&s=2.
Falcon is represented by W. Daniel Hinchcliff of the Office of State Public Defender Indigent Appeals Division. The State is represented by Special Assistant Attorney General Abbie Eason Koonce.
The oral arguments are expected to last approximately an hour. The appellant and appellee are each allowed 30 minutes.
People wishing to watch the proceedings are asked to be in their seats 15 minutes before the oral arguments are scheduled to begin.
The oral arguments will not be broadcast via the Court’s website, since the Court of Appeals is convening a special session away from its camera-equipped courtroom.
Any media organization which may wish to photograph or videotape the arguments must file a Camera Coverage Notice. Camera Coverage Notices should be directed to Clerk of the Court Jeremy Whitmire, fax 601-359-2407 or e-mail email@example.com, and to Assistant Court Administrator Camille Evans, fax 601-576-4708 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The Camera Coverage Notice form is at https://courts.ms.gov/news/forms/camnotice.pdf.
Photographers and videographers must be familiar with and follow the Rules for Electronic and Photographic Coverage of Judicial Proceedings. The camera coverage rules are available at http://courts.ms.gov/rules/msrulesofcourt/rules_electronicphotographic_coverage.pdf.