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No. 28736 - State of West Virginia v. Lloyd Mitchell Dews

Maynard, Justice, dissenting:

        I would affirm the appellant's conviction for third offense DUI. The majority reverses the conviction based syllabus point 3 of State v. Nichols, 208 W.Va. 432, 541 S.E.2d 310 (1999), which says that a trial court must exclude evidence of a prior conviction constituting a status element of the offense if stipulated to by the defendant. I dissented in Nichols, and I dissent in the instant case for the same reason. The only basis underlying the majority's holding in Nichols is its mistaken belief that jurors are unable to correctly use evidence of prior convictions.

        In the instant case, there is ample evidence for a jury to find beyond a reasonable doubt that the appellant drove a vehicle in this State while under the influence of alcohol. As a result, the majority's fear that the jurors found the appellant guilty of DUI because they knew of his two prior DUI convictions is unfounded.

        Accordingly, I dissent.