Decisions- Ct. App. – Jan. 28, 2014

Mississippi Dep’t of Public Safety v. Adcox – Court affirms workers comp. benefits for officer who was treated for PTSD after assisting in cleanup from Hurricane Katrina. MDPS claimed the Commission did not give suffucient weight to the testimony of its expert.

Hale v. Miss. State Bd of Examiners for Licensed Prof. Counseling – . Hale was a licensed professional counselor (LPC), who, in 1997, pled guilty to charges of billing and submitting false insurance claims to the federal government. He surrendered his license, was placed on probation for five years and was prohibited from participating in federal health-care programs. At the time of his arrest, Hale was under investigation by the Board due to complaints including that he was engaged in inappropriate and intimate relationships with three of his patients. Another complaint pertained to a newspaper article in which Hale falsely represented himself as a licensed clinical psychologist in an ad for his practice. He then violated his probation by, among other things, being arrested for embezzlement. He served time in prison and was released in 2003. In 2010 Hale applied to have his license reinstated. After a hearing, his application was denied. The Ct. of Appeals affirms.

Hall v. State – Hall filed a PCR motion after his probation was revoked based on criminal charges and other violations. Hall did not contest the revocation yet later filed for relief. After the trial court denied the same, he appealed claiming that once the trial court ordered the state to answer his PCR petition, he was entitled to a hearing. He also claimed he was denied due process when his parole officer told him he should forego a preliminary hearing. He also claims he was entitled to appointed counsel at the revocation. Court found no reasons to reverse. “We have found that Hall was not entitled to appointed counsel even if he had been informed that he could request counsel. Thus, we find no due-process violation for the court’s failure to advise Hall of the possibility of appointed counsel. Additionally, the record reflects that prior to his revocation hearing, Hall was informed of the allegations against him,of his right to have witnesses testify on his behalf, and of his right to retain counsel. Hall was provided a formal revocation hearing. At the hearing, Hall stated that he had no witnesses to call on his behalf. Hall was given the opportunity to challenge or deny the allegations against him, and he was given the opportunity to speak. Further, Hall admitted under oath that the allegations contained in the affidavit against him were true. We find that the minimum requirements of due process were met in the proceedings below.”

Posey v. Posey – Gladys conveyed 132 acres of land in Neshoba County to her sons Paul and Robert retaining a life estate. SHe had also conveyed two acres to Robert’s children. Gladys’ other two children, Dorothy and Willard, filed a complaint against Robert, Paul, seeking to set aside the deeds and claiming that Dorothy and Willard had acquired title to some of the property in question through adverse possession. The Chancery Court found that the deeds conveying property to Paul and Robert should be set aside as a result of undue influence. The judgment also granted Dorothy and Willard title by adverse possession. “On appeal, [Robert and Paul] challenge the chancery court’s decision that Dorothy and Willard acquired title to land owned by Gladys through adverse possession. However, since the[y] . . . do not contest the chancellor’s finding that the underlying deeds were void as a result of undue influence”, Robert and Paul no longer have standing to appeal the judgment and the appeal is dismissed.

Proctor v. Proctor – Wife awarded divorce based on adultery. She nonetheless appeal over the division of property arguing that the chancellor erred in failing to subtract $35,000 from Douglas’ share of his 401(k) retirement account, and instead deducted it from the balance’s total; the chancellor failed to address a pension account; and that the alimony award was inadequate. The Court of Appeals found no error and affirmed.

Smith v. State – Smith was charged with felony shoplifting as a habitual. He was also indicted on fourteen counts of uttering a forgery. He pleaded guilty to the charge of shoplifting and was sentenced to ten years without parole. He was also ordered to pay restitution of $839.24. In exchange for the plea, the fourteen counts of forgery were retired to the inactive files. However, although the forgery charges were retired, the Court entered an order requiring Smith to pay restitution in the amount of $34,304 to the victim of the forgeries. The order also specified that the victim bank had the right to execute its judgment for the losses against Smith’s “vehicles and/or personal property seized by law enforcement authorities.” A couple of days later, a writ of garnishment was issued by the Adams County Circuit Clerk. Smith filed a motion for PCR asserting that: (1) the requirement for him to pay restitution for the forgery charges subjected him to double jeopardy; and (2) allowing the bank to seize his personal property to satisfy the restitution violated his due-process rights. The circuit court denied the PCR motion finding that it did not have jurisdiction to address Smith’s claim regarding his violation of due-process rights and concluding that Smith was “not entitled to any relief on the merits, as there was a civil matter, which resolved the disposition as to his personal property as a result of his criminal activities.” Smith appealed.

The court held that while Smith was not convicted of the forgery, M.C.A. § 99-37-1(a) allows restitution to be ordered for “criminal activities” which are defined as “any offense with respect to which the defendant is convicted or any other criminal conduct admitted by the defendant.” The Court of Appeals also agreed that the circuit court did not have jurisdiction to address the civil matter. Nevertheless, the civil garnishment did nt violate Smith’s due process rights.. “Due process is satisfied when the interested parties are given ‘notice reasonably calculated, under all the circumstances, to apprise [them] of the pendency of the action and afford them an opportunity to present their objections.'” Smith was aware that his personal property had been seized and he was going to have to pay restitution.

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