Man sentenced to life as habitual offender gets new trial - - The News for South Mississippi

Man sentenced to life as habitual offender gets new trial

David May (Photo source: Mississippi Department of Corrections) David May (Photo source: Mississippi Department of Corrections)

A drug suspect sentenced to life in prison as a habitual offender will get a new trial after the Mississippi Supreme Court upheld his appeal, sending the case back to Harrison County Circuit Court.

David May, 40, was convicted of possession of cocaine and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in 2013.

May appealed his conviction, claiming he was only arrested after drugs were found during a search that was illegal under the Fourth Amendment.

The Mississippi Court of Appeals agreed, and sent the case back to circuit court for a new trial. Attorney General Jim Hood’s office petitioned the state supreme court to review the appeals court’s decision, but justices declined to review the case.

May was originally arrested by Biloxi police on Nov. 3, 2010, after a traffic stop on I-10. An officer pulled over the vehicle May was riding in after the driver swerved across the fog line on the interstate.

The driver was arrested after the officer found drugs in his pants. May's drivers license was suspended, so the officer told him to sit on the ground as he waited for a ride.

According to court documents, May acted "extremely nervous" and the officer noticed he kept looking at and grabbing his right shoe. The officer suspected May was hiding something, so he asked him to remove his shoes.

When May removed his shoes, a Zippo lighter fell to the ground. Court documents said the officer searched the center of the lighter and found small amounts of marijuana and crack cocaine.

The appeals court ruled prosecutors failed to prove May consented to the search of the lighter and that the search was unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment.

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