Decisions – Court of App. – Jan. 7, 2014

In the Interest of SMKS v. Youth Court, Union County – court affirms youth court’s adjudication of 13-year-old S.M.K.S. as a delinquent based on  his resisting arrest.

Zebert v. In the Matter of the Guardianship of Thomas Bakerattorney misconduct in administration of estate – In 2000, attorney Jason Zebert was appointed guardian of Thomas Baker.  In 2009 he failed to file the annual accounting and when it was filed two years late, it covered only two months.  Eventually the accounting was updated to show “disbursements of $44,468.83 and $133,749.92 in loans extended on behalf of the Estate” and that the account contained only $6,555.50.  The judge ordered Zebert to provide all of the estate’s bank statements.  Zebert  eventually confessed he had not obtained approval from the court to make the disbursements. He also claimed that documentation regarding the disbursements had been inadvertently destroyed by water damage to his office during a storm. ”  “Zebert, who is still incarcerated, appeals the order, claiming that  the order of contempt was criminal in nature, rather than civil, and must be reversed since it is impossible for him to comply with the chancery court’s order. Finding no error, we affirm.”

Now Zebert is facing federal criminal charges.

He pleaded guilty in federal court on January 15, 2014.

Jaggers v. Magruder custody – non-custodial parent, Jaggers,  complained that the three children’s extra-curricular activities interfered with his visitation and moved to modify custody and asked that he not be required to have the children comply with those activities.  The chancellor instead modified the visitation schedule and refused to allow Jaggers relief from complying with the extra-curriculars. Jaggers appealed unsuccessfully.

Rickman v. Statecompetency – Rickman indicted along with codefendant for armed robbery in Pearl River County.  A competency evaluation was ordered.  The doctor found that Rickmen was not competent to stand trial and his report noted significant paranoia and “rule out schizoaffective disorder.”  At the hearing, no witnesses were called.  Instead the trial court relied on the report and asked Rickman questions about his understanding of the judicial process. The court, being utterly unfamiliar with medical jargon, found Rickman competent because “perhaps most importantly, the diagnosis ruled out schizo[a]ffectve personality disorder or disease. Schizophrenia being a disease that in this court’s opinion may have a direct impact and bearing upon the defendant’s ability to rationally think and help his attorneys prepare.” The court of appeals wisely found that the trial court misinterpreted the doctor’s report, vacated the conviction and  remanded for a hearing to determine whether Rickman is competent to stand trial at present.

Ace Pipe Cleaning, Inc.  v. Hemphill Construction – on rehearing the court follows Ground Control, LLC v. Capso Industries, 120 So.3d 365, 371 (Miss. 2013), and holds that a contractor who does not obtain a certificate of responsibility is not barred from recovery but may recover under quantum meruit. 

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