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Date: 06-30-2020

Case Style:

Roosevelt Reshard Williams a/k/a Roosevelt Rishard Williams a/k/a Rooselvelt R. Williams a/k/a Roosevelt Williams v. State of Mississippi

Case Number: 2019-CP-00842-COA

Judge: David McCarty



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¶3. In 2010, Williams plead guilty to three felonies—one count of shooting into an
occupied dwelling and two counts of aggravated assault. His guilty plea gained him the
advantage of serving only seven years on one count and “a stay of execution conditioned on
[his] future good behavior and conduct” during five years of “probation or post release
supervision subject to the terms and conditions thereof[.]” The terms of his supervised
probation specificallyprovided that Williams “maintain good behavior and conduct and obey
the laws of this State . . . [and] all other States . . . and of the United States . . . including, but
not limited or otherwise restricted to, those prohibiting the use or possession of firearms by
persons who have been convicted of a felony.” The terms also required that he pay certain
court costs.
¶4. Nonetheless, in 2017 Williams was arrested during his time on probation. While
driving, he had failed to come to a complete stop at a stop sign—and after he was pulled
over, the police officer noticed a revolver in the back seat of the car. Williams then fled. He
was ultimately arrested for escape, possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, and
aggravated assault.
¶5. The State then filed a petition to revoke his probation based upon the arrest for those
crimes, coupled with the failure to pay $1,759 in supervision fees and $377.50 in court costs.
By the time of the revocation hearing, a grand jury in Madison County had indicted Williams
solely on possession of a firearm by a felon.
¶6. During the revocation hearing, the State argued that it had “shown it’s more likely
than not this defendant violated the terms and conditions of his probation” because he had
been indicted and a “firearm was also found behind the seat of the [car] he was sitting in, in
a vehicle that he was driving, and that another firearm was also found in the vehicle that was
in another location.” Counsel for Williams argued that he had not yet been found guilty of
that charge and that even though he had been arrested for multiple crimes, he had only been
indicted for one.
¶7. The trial court found that the terms and conditions of the suspended sentence and
probation had been violated and revoked Williams’ probation.
¶8. A little less than three months after the revocation, the State filed a motion to nolle
prosequi the indictment against Williams, stating that it did not have the evidence to sustain
a conviction. A few months after that, Williams filed a PCR petition, arguing that his
probation was unlawfully revoked because the indictment had been dismissed via nolle
¶9. After Williams filed his PCR petition, the trial court sua sponte ordered the case file
to be supplemented with his criminal file, including the revocation hearing. As a result, the
trial court saw the breadth of the claims and defenses at stake. Having reviewed the full file,
the trial court determined “that it plainly appears from the face of the petition that Petitioner
is not entitled to any relief” and dismissed the petition. Williams timely appealed.
¶10. This Court reviews the dismissal of a PCR petition for an abuse of discretion.
Williams v. State, 110 So. 3d 840, 842 (¶11) (Miss. Ct. App. 2013). We will not reverse a
dismissal absent a finding that the trial court’s decision was clearly erroneous; however, we
review issues of law under a de novo standard. Salter v. State, 184 So. 3d 944, 948 (¶10)
(Miss. Ct. App. 2015).
¶11. Mississippi Rule ofCriminal Procedure 27.3(f)(1) governsthe revocation of probation
and sets out that “[t]he judge must find by a preponderance of the evidence that a violation
of the conditions of probation or the instructions occurred.” When that standard is met, a trial
court “mayrevoke, modify, or continue probation.” MRCrP 27.3(g). Related, “incarceration
shall not automatically follow nonpayment” of fines, but is reserved for situations “only after
the court has examined the reasons for nonpayment and finds, on the record, that the
probationer could have satisfied payment but refused to do so.” MRCrP 27.3(f)(3).
¶12. Williams claims only one point of error on appeal—that the trial court was in error to
deny his request for relief because the indictment was dismissed after the revocation hearing.
In support, he relies on our general rule that “the mere arrest of a probationer is not a
violation of probation.” Elkins v. State, 116 So. 3d 185, 188 (¶12) (Miss. Ct. App. 2013)
(brackets omitted). Furthermore, “when the underlying charges are dismissed before a
revocation hearing occurs, proof of the arrest alone is insufficient to prove that the defendant
committed the act that violated the parole condition.” Id. (emphasis in original).
¶13. Yet that particular procedure is applied “when there is an acquittal or dismissal of the
underlying criminal charges . . . prior to completion of the revocation hearing. . . .” Id. at
(¶13). In this case, at the time of the revocation hearing, Williams’ indictment had not yet
been dismissed by nolle prosequi. The question before us is whether the trial court had “a
preponderance of evidence that a violation of the conditions of probation or the instructions
occurred.” MRCrP 27.3(f)(1).
¶14. We have previously examined a similar scenario where a probationer “had been
arrested and charged with involvement in a . . . drug sale” and had his suspended sentence
revoked, but the “drug charges were ultimately dismissed[.]” Hardin v. State, 878 So. 2d
111, 112 (¶1) (Miss. Ct. App. 2003). The petitioner sought relief from the revocation, which
the trial court denied. Id. Just as here, in Hardin the “sole issue” was whether “the trial
judge erroneously revoked his probation when the charge that was the basis for such
revocation was dismissed.” Id. at (¶2).
¶15. In that decision, we hewed closelyto our standard of review and concluded that during
the revocation hearing the trial court “reasoned that the evidence clearly showed [the
defendant] was in violation of his probation and, therefore, the judge revoked [his]
probation.” Id. at 113 (¶4). At the PCR stage, the trial court “concluded that [the petitioner’s]
probation was not revoked for guilt of another crime, but was revoked because extensive
evidence was produced to show that [he] violated the terms of his probation in participating
in the sale.” Id. at (¶5).
¶16. The standard for revocation is not the high one required for conviction, but whether
a preponderance of the evidence shows there was a violation at the time of the revocation.
MRCrP 27.3(f)(1). Because the trial court in Hardin “based [its] decision for revocation on
this premise, and the [trial court] reviewing [the] petition for post-conviction relief found no
error,” we affirmed. Hardin, 878 So. 2d at 113 (¶5).
¶17. The same result must be reached here. The trial court had before it during the
revocation hearing more than a mere arrest of the probationer. Williams’ indictment for
possession of a firearm by a convicted felon was compounded with allegations by the State
that he had also fled from arrest, committed aggravated assault, and failed to pay the required
supervision fees and court costs. The trial court found this met the preponderance of the
evidence standard to revoke, and the fact that the indictment was later nolle prossed does not
require the automatic reversal of that decision.

Outcome: Because the trial court was within its discretion in denying the request for postconviction relief, we affirm.


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