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Date: 01-13-2020

Case Style:

Michael D. Jackson a/k/a Michael Jackson v. State of Mississippi

Case Number: 2018-KA-00927-COA

Judge: Anthony Lawrence

Court: COURT OF APPEALS OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI

Plaintiff's Attorney: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
BY: ALICIA MARIE AINSWORTH

Defendant's Attorney:

Description:


Need help finding a lawyer for representation concerning exploitation of a minor in Mississippi?

Call 918-582-6422. It's Free.



In 2013, Jackson was a music teacher and choir director at Columbus High School in
Columbus, Mississippi. K.B.1 attended Columbus High School but was not one of Jackson’s
students. On November 22, 2013, Jackson messaged K.B. on “Kik,” an instant messaging
application (“app”) for mobile devices. When K.B. asked, “who might this be,” Jackson
responded, “an admirer . . . I’m afraid to say [because] I’m older than [you and] I work at
CHS . . . .” K.B. tried guessing, and Jackson messaged, “Before I proceed I have to tell [you]
I’m a guy [and] I don’t know if you would [be] cool with that.” K.B. replied, “as long as you
don’t try or harass me we cool.”
¶3. A few days later, Jackson asked K.B. for his cell phone number, and they began text
messaging. Jackson asked K.B. detailed questions about his sex life and the size of his penis.
Jackson asked K.B. how “big” he was and suggested K.B. should get paid to receive oral sex.
Jackson then messaged, “[T]hat could be very lucrative for [you] . . . [why] not get paid to
get what [you] already getting . . . .” K.B. responded, “[I don’t know] money talks though.”
¶4. Jackson offered K.B. $50 to give K.B. oral sex. K.B. said that was too cheap.
Jackson then offered $100, and K.B. replied, “I [was] looking forward to a Salvatore
Ferragamo belt.” Jackson then offered $275. K.B. agreed.
¶5. They went back and forth on meeting times. On December 7, 2013, they attempted
1 We use initials to protect the minor’s identity. 2
to meet in a gas station bathroom, but Jackson backed out upon arrival, claiming there was
too much activity at the gas station. He was also worried about the cameras on the outside
of the gas station. Jackson asked K.B. to follow him to his house, but K.B. said he could not
because his mother called and needed a ride.
¶6. K.B.’s last message to Jackson was on December 16, 2013. He said the hall “was
talking,” implying that other students knew about what was going on between them. At the
end of January, K.B. told his mother about the messages. On January 31, 2014, they went
to the police station and met with Investigator Tabertha Hardin. K.B. told Investigator
Hardin about the messages between himself and Jackson and showed her the messages on
his phone. Jackson was arrested two days later. Investigator Hardin prepared a search
warrant for Jackson’s home and cell phone, which the police seized the following day. The
police also seized two computers, four phones, two tablets, three hard drives, and three jump
drives. A forensic analysis of Jackson’s phone showed the text messages between Jackson
and K.B., including some deleted messages.2
¶7. On February 3, 2014, around 12 p.m., Investigator Timothy Jenkins met with Jackson.
Jackson immediately requested a lawyer. Investigator Jenkins read Jackson his Miranda3
rights, and Jackson signed a waiver. At that point, the interrogation ceased, and Investigator
Jenkins left.
2 The initial forensic analysis did not reveal any text messages between Jackson and K.B. Later, with advanced technology, the messages were recovered. 3 Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966). 3
¶8. A few hours later, it is undisputed that Jackson requested to speak again with
Investigator Jenkins. The following exchange occurred:
Inv. Jenkins: You requested to speak to me, is that right?
Jackson: Uh huh.
Inv. Jenkins: Again, I’m Investigator Jenkins, that’s Investigator McCrary. Before we get started talking, earlier today when we started the interview, I read your rights to you correct?
Jackson: Uh huh.
Inv. Jenkins: I need a yes or no . . .
Jackson: Yes.
Inv. Jenkins: And at that time, you requested to speak with a lawyer, is that correct?
Jackson: Yes.
Inv. Jenkins: Now, you are willing to waive that right and speak to me again?
Jackson: I want to tell you about the situation.
Inv. Jenkins: Look, before that, I can’t listen to anything like that, you see what I’m saying, to cover myself.
Jackson: Okay.
Inv. Jenkins: I need to read you your [rights] again and if you want to talk to me after that, we can do that okay[?]
Jackson: Okay. I would just rather wait until I consult with a lawyer.
Inv. Jenkins: Okay, that’s fine. Um since we are in here, I do have to read your rights again, and then we will go through the whole you want to speak to a lawyer, okay?
4
Jackson: Okay.
Inv. Jenkins: I understand what you want to talk to me about but like I said to cover me, cover the department and the city, I have to go through the steps; do you know what I mean?
Jackson: Yes sir.
. . . .
Inv. Jenkins: Like I said, we can talk about what you want to talk about, that’s fine, but I have to go through all this.
Jackson: Okay.
. . . .
Inv. Jenkins: Okay. We are at the Columbus Police Department. Today’s date is Monday, February 3rd. The time now is 3:23 p.m. Alright, just like before . . . (Read rights) Do you understand these rights?
Jackson: Yes.
Inv. Jenkins: (Read waiver of rights) Now, do you want to talk to me about what you requested to talk to me about?
Jackson: Yes.
Inv. Jenkins: If you would, sign right there. Officer McCrary is going to step out so you and I can talk okay?
Jackson: Okay.
Inv. Jenkins: You understand what you have been charged with, right?
Jackson: Yes sir.
Inv. Jenkins: You requested to speak with me, is that right?
5
Jackson: Yes sir.
Inv. Jenkins: Okay, what would you like to talk to me about?
(Emphasis added). Jackson signed a second Miranda waiver and confessed to offering K.B.
$275 to receive oral sex from him.
¶9. Jackson was indicted pursuant to Mississippi Code Annotated section 97-5-33(6)
(Supp. 2013). On April 29, 2015, Jackson filed a motion to suppress, claiming that he was
denied a probable cause hearing under Mississippi Code Annotated section 99-3-28(1)(a).
As a result, he requested that any statements given to the Columbus Police Department and
any evidence seized in connection with those statements be suppressed.
¶10. The circuit court subsequently held a hearing on the motion to suppress and heard
testimony from Jackson and Investigators Hardin and Jenkins.4 Jackson testified that he
asked to speak with Investigator Jenkins a second time because he “just really wanted to find
out what was going on.” At the close of the hearing, the circuit court continued the hearing
and requested that the parties provide briefing on the motion to suppress—specifically,
whether or not the probable cause hearing of section 99-3-28(1)(a) was applicable. Both
parties complied and presented their arguments at the second hearing. The circuit court
ultimately held that the mere fact that the student knew Jackson and that Jackson was a
4 On January 20, 2015, Jackson filed a motion to quash the indictment, arguing that it was “unconstitutionally over broad.” The circuit court also heard this motion at the hearing and ultimately denied the motion. The constitutionality of the indictment was not raised as an issue on appeal. 6
teacher at his school did not invoke the use of section 99-3-28(1)(a). At no point in the
motion to suppress or during the hearing did Jackson’s attorney allege the statement should
be suppressed due to a violation of his invocation to an attorney. Jackson’s argument
stemmed solely from the alleged statutorily-required probable cause hearing.
¶11. The case was tried on May 21 through May 25, 2018. At trial, the jury heard
testimony from K.B. He testified that he first met Jackson leaving school early one day.
K.B. stated that Jackson asked him his name and age. The two later crossed paths again
when K.B. was in the school play. K.B. was waiting for his ride after rehearsal, and Jackson
asked him about his behavior at school and what kind of student he was. Their next
interaction was through the “Kik” app on November 22, 2013. K.B. testified in detail to the
instant messages and text messages between himself and Jackson, stating that Jackson
offered him up to $275 to receive oral sex.
¶12. Investigator Jenkins testified that he initially read Jackson his Miranda rights and
handed him a waiver form. He also testified that he goes through the waiver form with every
detainee even if he or she has requested a lawyer. After Jackson invoked his right to an
attorney, Investigator Jenkins wrote “requested lawyer” at the bottom of the form, had
Jackson sign it, and left. He stated that Jackson asked to speak to him three and a half hours
later, so he went back into the room where Jackson was being held. He testified that he
provided Jackson with a second waiver form. The video of the second interview between
Investigator Jenkins and Jackson was played for the jury. The defense did not object when
7
the video was offered into evidence or when the video was played for the jury. The defense
only objected after the jury watched the entire video.5
¶13. Sedrick Fenster also testified for the State. Fenster, a bail bondsmen, testified he had
been friends with Jackson since the early 2000s. Over the years, Fenster was the sound
technician for Jackson’s school concerts and plays. He stated that in February 2014 he had
been trying to call Jackson because he knew Jackson had an event happening soon. When
Jackson finally called him back, he asked Fenster if he knew he had been arrested. Fenster
said, “[N]o,” and Jackson asked him to come over to his house. Fenster testified that, after
he arrived at Jackson’s home, Jackson admitted he had offered money to a student to receive
oral sex.
¶14. The defense called Investigator Hardin as its only witness. She testified that K.B. and
his mother came to the police department to report an incident where K.B. was getting
messages from a teacher at Columbus High School. Investigator Hardin then testified that
she took screen shots of K.B.’s messages on his phone and then sent those screen shots to her
computer.
¶15. At the close of Investigator Hardin’s testimony, the defense rested. The jury found
Jackson guilty of exploitation of a minor. Jackson appeals.
ANALYSIS
5 The actual objection and its analysis will be addressed fully in part two of this opinion’s analysis section. 8
1. Mississippi Code Annotated section 99-3-28 does not apply.
¶16. Jackson claims he was entitled to a probable cause hearing as a licensed public school
teacher under section 99-3-28(1)(a). We review issues of statutory construction de novo.
Smith v. Webster, 233 So. 3d 242, 247 (¶15) (Miss. 2017). “In matters concerning statutory
construction, ‘the function of the Court is not to decide what a statute should provide, but to
determine what it does provide.’” Id. at (¶16) (quoting Lawson v. Honeywell Int’l Inc., 75
So. 3d 1024, 1027 (¶7) (Miss. 2011). “When a statute is unambiguous, [we apply] the plain
meaning of its words.” Id.
¶17. Section 99-3-28(1)(a) provides, in relevant part:
Except as provided in subsection (2) of this section, before an arrest warrant shall be issued against any teacher who is a licensed public school employee as defined in Section 37-9-1 . . . for a criminal act, whether misdemeanor or felony, which is alleged to have occurred while the teacher . . . was in the performance of official duties, a probable cause hearing shall be held before a circuit court judge.
(Emphasis added).
¶18. The plain language of the statute mandates a probable cause hearing before an arrest
warrant is issued against a licensed public school teacher if engaged in a criminal act while
in the performance of his official duties. K.B. was not Jackson’s student. Jackson happened
to work at the same school K.B. attended. Jackson never taught K.B. Jackson never
supervised K.B. In fact, all of the alleged criminal activities by Jackson against K.B.
occurred off campus, outside of school hours. Consequently, Jackson cannot avail himself
of the procedures provided in this section.
9
2. The circuit court properly admitted Jackson’s confession.
¶19. Jackson argues that the circuit court erred in refusing to suppress his confession
because he had invoked his right to counsel. “Whether a confession is admissible is a
fact-finding function for the trial court, and its decision will not be overturned unless the trial
court applied an incorrect legal standard, committed manifest error, or made a decision
against the overwhelming weight of the evidence.” Haynes v. State, 934 So. 2d 983, 988
(¶15) (Miss. 2006).
¶20. Jackson first argued for the suppression of the confession in his motion to suppress.
However, as previously mentioned, Jackson did not argue a violation of his Fifth Amendment
rights.6 He instead argued that any confession obtained should be suppressed because he was
denied a probable cause hearing. That issue was addressed in the first motions hearing. The
court continued the hearing and reserved its ruling until the issue was briefed. During the
second motions hearing, Jackson’s attorney argued that the confession should have been
suppressed because he did not receive an initial appearance within a reasonable time. The
court denied the motion to suppress. At trial, without further objections, Investigator Jenkins
testified, and the jury viewed the interview in question. After the confession was played for
the jury, Jackson objected, claiming the confession was obtained in violation of his Fifth
Amendment rights.
¶21. An objection to evidence “must be made as soon as it appears that the evidence is
6 U.S. Const. amend. V.
10
objectionable, or as soon as it could reasonably have been known to the objecting party . . . .”
McGuire v. State, 170 So. 3d 570, 576 (¶14) (Miss. Ct. App. 2014) (quoting Sumner v. State,
316 So. 2d 926, 927 (Miss. 1975)). Here, Jackson had access to the video and transcript
years before trial.7 As previously stated, Jackson never raised this issue in his motion to
suppress and never made any arguments on the issue at either hearing on that motion.
Further, at trial, when Investigator Jenkins was asked to testify and the video transcript was
offered into evidence, Jackson again made no objection. The day after the entire video was
played for the jury, defense counsel objected, stating, “[W]hen I watched the video yesterday,
I noticed [for the first time] very clearly in the statement where they were talking to him,
[that Jackson] invoked his Fifth Amendment right.” This was done after the evidence was
introduced and played to the jury. Further, this objection was made after the filing of a
written motion to suppress and the two hearings thereon, none of which raised this issue.
Consequently, we find Jackson waived his argument of a Fifth Amendment violation and did
not preserve this issue for appeal.
¶22. Waiver notwithstanding, the circuit court did not err in admitting Jackson’s
confession. Jackson invoked his right to counsel during the first interview. When a suspect
invokes his right to counsel, all custodial interrogation must cease until the lawyer is present,
7 Defense counsel filed a motion for discovery on August 22, 2014. The defense then provided a notice of reciprocal discovery to the State on May 18, 2015. Although the record does not reveal the exact date Jackson received discovery from the State, it is obvious he received it before he provided reciprocal discovery. 11
unless the suspect himself “initiates further communication, exchanges, or conversations with
the police.” Edwards v. Arizona, 451 U.S. 477, 484-85 (1981).8 The first interrogation did
cease. It is undisputed Jackson initiated further communication with Investigator Jenkins,
prompting the second interview. At the beginning of the second interview, the following
exchange occurred:
Jackson: I want to tell you about the situation.
Inv. Jenkins: Look, before that, I can’t listen to anything like that, you see what I’m saying, to cover myself.
Jackson: Okay.
Inv. Jenkins: I need to read you your [rights] again and if you want to talk to me after that, we can do that okay[?]
Jackson: Okay. I would just rather wait until I consult with a lawyer.
Inv. Jenkins: Okay, that’s fine. Um since we are in here, I do have to read your rights again, and then we will go through the whole you want to speak to a lawyer, okay?
Investigator Jenkins read Jackson his Miranda rights, and Jackson signed a second waiver
form. The two began talking, and Jackson ultimately confessed.
¶23. First, we must determine whether Jackson invoked his right to counsel. See Holland
v. State, 587 So. 2d 848, 855 (Miss. 1991). “Due to the fact-specific nature of requests for
8 The Fifth Amendment right to counsel, as incorporated to apply to the states, attaches during custodial interrogations. See Collins v. State, 172 So. 3d 724, 736 (¶9) (Miss. 2015), distinguished on other grounds by Manning v. State, 269 So. 3d 216, 220 (¶16) (Miss. Ct. App. 2018). 12
counsel and Miranda waivers, the applicable law has become muddled. Accordingly, we
review such requests on a case-by-case basis.” Downey v. State, 144 So. 3d 146, 150 (¶7)
(Miss. 2014).
¶24. A person does not have to use specific language such as “I want a lawyer” in order
to invoke the right to counsel. Montoya v. Collins, 955 F.2d 279, 283 (5th Cir.1992). Only
“some kind of positive statement or other action that informs a reasonable person of the
defendant’s ‘desire to deal with the police only through counsel’” is required to assert the
right. Wilcher v. State, 697 So. 2d 1087, 1096 (Miss. 1997) (quoting Montoya, 955 F. 2d at
283 (quoting Michigan v. Jackson, 475 U.S. 625, 626 (1986), overruled on other grounds by
Montejoy v. Louisiana, 556 U.S. 778,780-81, 797 (2009))).9
¶25. “When there is ambiguity in the request for counsel, this Court applies a three-step test
to determine whether the trial judge correctly decided whether to admit or suppress a
defendant’s statements to a law enforcement officer.” Downey, 144 So. 3d at 151 (¶18)
(citing Holland, 587 So. 2d 848). “In applying this test, we consider (1) whether counsel was
ambiguously requested; (2) if the request for counsel was ambiguous, whether the
appropriate questions to identify the counsel requested were asked; and (3) if the
9 The Mississippi Supreme Court has said that “an ambiguous mention of possibly speaking to one’s attorney is insufficient to trigger the right to counsel.” Grayson v. State, 806 So. 2d 241, 247 (¶11) (Miss. 2001) (citing Davis v. United States, 512 U.S. 452, 459 (1994)). A mere suggestion or misunderstanding is not enough. See id. “A suspect must articulate his or her desire to have counsel present with sufficient clarity that a reasonable police officer under the circumstances would understand the statement to be a request for an attorney.” Delashmit v. State, 991 So. 2d 1215, 1220 (¶14) (Miss. 2008). 13
interrogation continued without counsel, whether there was a valid Miranda waiver.” Id.
¶26. We recognize that this case presents a unique set of facts. Jackson initially invoked
his right to counsel, but several hours later he initiated further communication. After
Investigator Jenkins returned, Jackson said he wanted to talk about the “situation.”
Investigator Jenkins attempted to re-read Jackson his Miranda rights, and Jackson stated he
would rather wait to consult a lawyer. Those two statements are conspicuously in conflict
with each other. Further, those two statements came after Jackson requested and initiated
the new contact with law enforcement. It would be an understatement of perplexing
proportions to assert the officers were not confused and unclear as to whether he wanted to
talk or not. Investigator Jenkins then retreated to the safe harbor of reading the Miranda
rights to see if the confusion could be cleared. After Jackson was read his rights, he agreed
to speak with law enforcement.
¶27. A law enforcement officer cannot question the accused10 about his criminal conduct
after he invokes his right to counsel. Kirkland v. State, 559 So. 2d 1046, 1047 (Miss. 1990).
However, the officer is permitted to inquire about counsel for clarification purposes.
Kuykendall v. State, 585 So. 2d 773, 777 (Miss. 1991); see also Holland, 587 So. 2d at 858
(holding the interrogator’s line of questioning must not exceed the limits of permissible
clarification). After Jackson stated he would rather wait to consult a lawyer, Investigator
10 See U.S. Const. amend. VI; Miss. Const. art. 3, §26; Page v. State, 495 So. 2d 436, 439 (Miss. 1986). 14
Jenkins was permitted to seek clarification. Investigator Jenkins did not question Jackson
about his criminal conduct. He only stated that he needed to re-read Jackson his Miranda
rights before listening to anything Jackson had to say about the “situation.” He also informed
Jackson that they could talk about whether Jackson wanted a lawyer after he was read his
Miranda rights. At that point, Jackson was read his Miranda rights for a second time and
signed a second waiver form. Investigator Jenkins then asked Jackson what he wanted to talk
about, and Jackson told Investigator Jenkins what he obviously wanted to say.
¶28. After applying the three-step test set forth in Holland, we find the circuit court
properly admitted Jackson’s confession. Jackson initiated further communication with
Investigator Jenkins and then stated he wanted a lawyer. Confused because Jackson had
requested to speak with him a second time to talk about “the situation,” Investigator Jenkins
sought to clarify Jackson’s request by reading him his Miranda rights. After Jackson was
read his rights, Jackson voluntarily waived his rights and spoke to Investigator Jenkins.
¶29. As stated previously, Jackson did not object as to the invocation issue until after the
confession was played in its entirety to the jury. The separate opinion does not address the
waiver issue. Rather, the separate opinion argues that our holding that Investigator Jenkins’
permissive clarification “erode[s] constitutional principles” concerning the invocation of the
right to counsel.
¶30. The ruling in this case is directly determined by the unique facts of this case. Jackson
invoked his rights in the first interview. The detectives respected that invocation and left.
15
A few hours later, Jackson clearly reinitiated contact with the detectives. When the detective
re-entered the room, Jackson affirmed that he had asked the detectives to return. He then told
the detective, “I want to tell you about the situation.” Then, almost immediately after making
that statement, Jackson stated, “I would just rather wait until I consult with a lawyer.” This
statement was different from his previous statements asking the detectives to return and to
“tell [them] about the situation.” Simply put, Jackson’s conflicting statements made within
seconds of each other, coupled with the fact that he had reinitiated the entire second
conversation, created a confusing and ambiguous situation. Investigator Jenkins responded
by reading Jackson his Miranda rights again. After the Miranda warnings were read,
Jackson waived his rights and began speaking with the detectives. We find Investigator
Jenkins’s attempt to clarify the situation by reading Jackson his constitutionally required
Miranda rights was not a violation of Jackson’s Fifth Amendment rights. See Kuykendall,
585 So. 2d at 777; see also Holland, 587 So. 2d at 858.
¶31. Further, even if the circuit court had erred in admitting Jackson’s confession, the error
would be harmless.
[T]he admission of statements taken in violation of an accused’s Fifth Amendment rights is “amenable to harmless error analysis.” “In order for a violation of a constitutional right to be held harmless, this Court must determine that the violation was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.” We have held that “errors involving a violation of an accused’s constitutional rights may be deemed harmless beyond a reasonable doubt where the weight of the evidence against the accused is overwhelming.”
Hutto v. State, 227 So. 3d 963, 980 (¶49) (Miss. 2017) (citations omitted).
16
¶32. Here, the weight of evidence against Jackson is overwhelming without his confession.
K.B. testified that Jackson offered him $275 to receive oral sex from him. The text messages
between Jackson and K.B. corroborating that offer were admitted into evidence before the
jury. Finally, Fenster, Jackson’s longtime friend, testified that Jackson admitted to him that
he (Jackson) had offered a student money for oral sex. Accordingly, even if there was a Fifth
Amendment violation, it was harmless error beyond a reasonable doubt.
3. The circuit court did not err in refusing to suppress evidence obtained from Jackson’s home.
¶33. Jackson contends that any items seized from his home were acquired from an
unlawfully obtained confession and therefore “fruit of the poisonous tree.” As a result, he
argues that the circuit court should have suppressed all evidence collected there.
¶34. We review the circuit court’s denial of a motion to suppress evidence for abuse of
discretion. Goff v. State, 14 So. 3d 625, 641 (¶47) (Miss. 2009). We will not disturb the
circuit court’s decision unless we find the circuit court “applied an incorrect legal standard,
committed manifest error, or made a decision contrary to the overwhelming weight of the
evidence.” Simmons v. State, 805 So. 2d 452, 482 (¶64) (Miss. 2001) (quoting Taylor v.
State, 733 So. 2d 251, 255 (¶18) (Miss. 1999)).
¶35. The exclusionary prohibition against “fruit of the poisonous tree” applies to violations
of the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. See Brown v. Illinois, 422 U.S.
590, 599-601 (1975). Our supreme court has held “that the fruit of the poisonous tree
doctrine is defeated where the confession is judged admissible.” Yates v. State, 467 So. 2d
17
884, 887 (Miss. 1984) (citing Wiley v. State, 449 So. 2d 756, 759-60 (Miss. 1984)).
¶36. As previously discussed, we find that Jackson’s confession was admissible.
Therefore, any items seized as a result would not be “fruit of the poisonous tree.” However,
even if that were not the case, the search warrant clearly indicated that the underlying facts
and circumstances derived solely from the minor victim’s statement and the evidence that
was evident on his phone. Investigator Hardin also testified to that effect at the first hearing
on the motion to suppress. Thus, the police would have discovered that information without
Jackson’s statement. It was inevitable. The minor gave a statement to the police about
Jackson’s actions. During that statement, K.B. showed the police the text messages on his
cell phone, corroborating his account to the police. Simply put, the police were going to seek
a search warrant for Jackson’s home whether or not Jackson gave a statement. For these
reasons, the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in denying Jackson’s motion to suppress.
4. The circuit court did not abuse its discretion in limiting Jackson’s theory of defense regarding consent and extortion.
¶37. Jackson next argues that the circuit court erred in denying him an opportunity on
cross-examination to present evidence showing K.B.’s consent to oral sex and his extortion
of Jackson. “Limitations placed on cross-examination are reviewed using an abuse-of
discretion standard.” Ervin v. State, 136 So. 3d 1053, 1058 (¶13) (Miss. 2014).
¶38. During K.B.’s cross-examination, Jackson attempted to introduce vulgar song lyrics
from songs he learned about from K.B. Jackson argued that the lyrics went to K.B.’s
credibility and whether he was enticed to engage in the offered sexual activity. The State
18
argued that consent is not a defense to child exploitation. The circuit court stated, “[I]f the
defense wishes to portray the alleged victim in this case, a child, as a money-seeking
individual, I think he can do that, but I’m not going to allow it through the use of these songs
. . . .” Ultimately, the circuit court ruled that the evidence was irrelevant and that even if it
were relevant it was more prejudicial than probative. We agree.
¶39. Jackson’s attempt to introduce graphic, vulgar song lyrics as a defense to exploitation
of a minor is misguided and disingenuous. The law is clear: adults are prohibited from
enticing minors to engage in sexually explicit conduct. A defendant cannot solicit sex with
a minor and then claim as a defense that the minor wanted to have sex. The law does not
afford such a defense. Be that as it may, the lyrics in the songs Jackson wanted to introduce
did not prove what he asserted they did.
¶40. Further, Jackson also claimed that K.B. sent him a blackmail letter.11 On cross
examination, Jackson tried to question Investigator Jenkins and Fenster about the blackmail
letter, but the State objected. The circuit court prohibited the questioning, reasoning that any
evidence of extortion was not a defense to child exploitation and therefore irrelevant.
Further, there was no evidence a blackmail letter ever existed. Finally, the information about
the blackmail letter inadvertently came into evidence during Jackson’s statement to the
police. Therefore, although it was irrelevant, the jury heard Jackson’s extortion claim when
it watched his confession.
11 No blackmail letter was ever recovered. 19
¶41. After review, we find the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in excluding
Jackson’s proposed song lyrics and evidence of extortion. As recognized by the circuit
judge, consent and extortion are not defenses to child exploitation.
5. The circuit court did not abuse its discretion in refusing Jackson’s proposed jury instructions.
¶42. “Jury instructions are generally within the discretion of the trial court and the settled
standard of review is abuse of discretion.” Bailey v. State, 78 So. 3d 308, 315 (¶20) (Miss.
2012) (citing Newell v. State, 49 So. 3d 66, 73 (¶20) (Miss. 2010)). “The instructions are to
be read together as a whole, with no one instruction to be read alone or taken out of context.”
Id. (quoting Young v. State, 891 So. 2d 813, 819 (¶16) (Miss. 2005)). “When read together,
if the jury instructions fairly state the law of the case and create no injustice, then no
reversible error will be found.” Id. (citing Newell, 49 So. 3d at 73 (¶20)). Our supreme court
“has held that ‘a defendant is entitled to have jury instructions given which present his theory
of the case; however, this entitlement is limited in that the court may refuse an instruction
which incorrectly states the law, is covered fairly elsewhere in the instructions, or is without
foundation in the evidence.’” Id. (quoting Hearn v. State, 3 So. 3d 722, 738 (¶45) (Miss.
2008)).
¶43. Jackson contends the circuit court erred in refusing to give jury instruction D-2
regarding computer luring. Jury instruction D-2 read:
If you find that the State did not prove any one of the elements of the crime charged, then you must find Michael D. Jackson not guilty of that crime. You may then proceed with your deliberations to decide whether the State has
20
proved beyond a reasonable doubt all of the elements of the lesser crime of Computer Luring.
Therefore, if you find beyond a reasonable doubt from the evidence in this case that Michael D. Jackson did:
1. On or about or between November 22, 2013 through December 16, 2013, in Lowndes County Mississippi;
2. Knowingly and intentionally use any computer communication system allowing the input, output, examination or transfer of computer data or computer programs from one (1) computer to another, to initiate or engage in such communication with a person under the age of eighteen (18); and
3. By means of such communication he importunes, invites or induces a person under the age of eighteen (18) years to engage in sexual intercourse, deviant sexual intercourse or sexual contact with him, or to engage in sexual performance, obscene sexual performance or sexual conduct for his benefit then you shall find Michael D. Jackson guilty of the lesser offense of Computer Luring.
If the State did not prove any one of the above listed elements beyond a reasonable doubt, then you shall find Michael D. Jackson not guilty of Computer Luring.
The court refused instruction D-2 because the elements of computer luring and exploitation
of a child are practically identical, and therefore the jury could not find Jackson guilty of both
the lesser offense, computer luring, and the more serious offense of exploitation of a child.
¶44. Mississippi Code Annotated section 97-5-27(3)(a) (Supp. 2013) lists the elements of
computer luring:
A person is guilty of computer luring when:
(I) Knowing the character and content of any communication of sexually oriented material, he intentionally uses any computer communication system
21
allowing the input, output, examination or transfer of computer data or computer programs from one (1) computer to another, to initiate or engage in such communication with a person under the age of eighteen (18); and
(ii) By means of such communication he importunes, invites or induces a person under the age of eighteen (18) years to engage in sexual intercourse, deviant sexual intercourse or sexual contact with him, or to engage in a sexual performance, obscene sexual performance or sexual conduct for his benefit.
¶45. Jackson was indicted pursuant to Mississippi Code Annotated section 97-5-33(6),
which reads:
No person shall, by any means including computer, knowingly entice, induce, persuade, seduce, solicit, advise, coerce, or order a child to meet with the defendant or any other person for the purpose of engaging in sexually explicit conduct.
¶46. We agree with the circuit court’s finding that the elements of both crimes are
practically identical and that Jackson cannot be found guilty of both the lesser offense of
computer luring and exploitation of a child. Further, no reasonable juror could find Jackson
not guilty of exploitation and then under the same proof and same elements find him guilty
of computer luring. See Rowland v. State, 531 So. 2d 627, 631-32 (Miss. 1988) (stating that
it is “extremely unlikely” for an accused to be guilty of the greater offense without also being
guilty of the lesser offense)). The grand jury indicted Jackson for exploitation of a minor,
and he was either guilty or not guilty of that crime.
¶47. Jackson next argues that the circuit court erred in denying jury instruction D-4, a
lesser-included-offense instruction on obscene electronic communications. Jury instruction
D-4 read:
22
If you find that the State did not prove any one of the elements of the crime charged, then you must find Michael D. Jackson not guilty of that crime. You may then proceed with your deliberations to decide whether the State has proved beyond a reasonable doubt all of the elements of the lesser crime of obscene electronic communications.
Therefore, if you find beyond a reasonable doubt from the evidence in this case that Michael D. Jackson did:
1. On or about or between November 22, 2013 through December 16, 2013, in Lowndes County, Mississippi;
2. Unlawfully make a comment, request, suggestion or proposal;
3. By means of telecommunication, or electronic communication;
4. Which is obscene, lewd or lascivious;
5. With intent to abuse, threaten or harass any party to a telephone conversation, telecommunication or electronic communication, then you shall find Michael D. Jackson guilty of obscene electronic communications.
If the State did not prove any one of the above listed elements beyond a reasonable doubt, then you shall find Michael D. Jackson not guilty of obscene electronic communications.
¶48. The circuit court refused the instruction because there was no evidence presented that
Jackson intended to “abuse, threaten, or harass.” A circuit court may refuse a jury instruction
if there is no evidence to support it. Hye v. State, 162 So. 3d 750, 753 (¶5) (Miss. 2015).
After review of the record, we find no evidence showing that Jackson intended to abuse,
threaten, or harass K.B. Thus, the circuit court was within its discretion to refuse jury
instruction D-4.
6. The circuit court did not abuse its discretion in allowing Fenster’s
23
testimony.
¶49. On appeal, Jackson challenges the circuit court’s admission of Fenster’s testimony,
claiming he was prejudiced as a result. At trial, the defense objected to Fenster testifying
because Fenster was not provided as a witness in the original discovery. The State replied
that it provided the defense a copy of Fenster’s statement as soon as it was discovered in the
file—about ten days before trial. Jackson made no effort to show how or why ten days was
an insufficient period of time to prepare for such evidence.
¶50. Nevertheless, “[t]he standard of review for the trial court’s ruling on a discovery
violation is abuse of discretion.” O’Neal v. State, 977 So. 2d 1252, 1254 (¶10) (Miss. Ct.
App. 2008). Mississippi Rule of Criminal Procedure 17.9(b) outlines the procedures to apply
when the State attempts to enter previously undisclosed evidence over the defendant’s
objection:
If, during the course of trial, the prosecution attempts to introduce evidence which has not been timely disclosed to the defense as required by these Rules and the defense objects to the introduction for that reason, the court shall:

(1) Grant the defense a reasonable opportunity to interview the newly discovered witness and/or examine the newly produced documents, photographs or other evidence.
(2) If, after such opportunity, the defense claims unfair surprise or undue prejudice and seeks a continuance or mistrial, the court shall, in the interest of justice and absent unusual circumstances, exclude the evidence, grant a continuance for a period of time reasonably necessary for the defense to meet the non-disclosed evidence, or grant a mistrial. . . .
¶51. The circuit court complied with subsection 1, allowing Jackson as much time as he
24
needed to interview Fenster. After the interview, Jackson made no other objections
regarding Fenster as a witness. Nor did he motion for a mistrial or motion to continue.
Because Jackson did not claim he needed additional time or that was prejudiced after his
opportunity to interview Fenster, he is barred from doing so on appeal. See Cole v. State, 525
So. 2d 365, 368 (Miss. 1987).
7. The circuit court did not abuse its discretion in denying Jackson’s motion for a new trial.
¶52. Jackson argues that the circuit court erred in denying his motion for a new trial. A
motion for a new trial challenges the weight of the evidence. Daniels v. State, 107 So. 3d
961, 963 (¶12) (Miss. 2013). We review the circuit court’s denial of a motion for a new trial
for abuse of discretion. Id. “Our role as appellate court is to view the evidence in the light
most favorable to the verdict and disturb the verdict only when it is so contrary to the
overwhelming weight of the evidence that to allow it to stand would sanction an
unconscionable injustice.” Little v. State, 233 So. 3d 288, 289 (¶1) (Miss. 2017).
¶53. Jackson argues the jury considered screen shots that were “manipulated” by K.B., as
evidenced by testimony indicating that portions of the conversation were missing from the
screen shots.12 First, Jackson presented no proof that K.B. manipulated the screen shots by
deleting some of his and K.B.’s messages. Second, and more important, it does not matter
whether K.B. deleted any messages. What matters are the undeleted messages from Jackson
12 The texts deleted stated, “wake up,” “oh,” “?,” “um,” and “it’s the best time to do
it.”
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to K.B., offering K.B. up to $275 to receive oral sex. Those messages clearly show that
Jackson was in violation of Mississippi Code Annotated section 97-5-33(6).
¶54. When viewing all the evidence in the light most favorable to the verdict, including
K.B.’s testimony, the text messages, and Jackson’s confession, the verdict against Jackson
does not sanction an unconscionable injustice. Accordingly, the circuit court did not abuse
its discretion in denying Jackson’s motion for new trial.

Outcome: We find that Jackson was not entitled to a probable cause hearing under Mississippi
Code Annotated section 99-3-28(1)(a). We also find that the circuit court did not err inadmitting into evidence Jackson’s confession and evidence obtained from his home. Further,we find the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in excluding from evidence Jackson’svulgar song lyrics and any evidence of extortion. The circuit court did not abuse its discretionin refusing Jackson’s proposed jury instructions. Nor did the circuit court abuse its discretioin allowing Fenster to testify. Finally, the circuit court did not err in denying Jackson’smotion for a new trial. Accordingly, we affirm the circuit court’s judgment.

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