Ct. of App. – oral arg. – Wed., March 26, 2014

The Court of Appeals will hear two arguments Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Cleveland MHC v. City of Richland – this is a zoning case. The City of Richland passed an ordinance stating that if a mobile home was removed from the Cleveland Mobile Home Park, it could not be replaced by another mobile home on the site.  Cleveland MHC filed a bill of exceptions.  The mobile home park had existed since the 50s.  At some point, the property was annexed by the City of Richland.  WHen the property was annexed, it was zoned light industrial.  The mobile home park, then, was a non-conforming use since residences are not allowed on industrial-zoned property.    Sect. 405 of the City ordinances states that non-conformities are allowed to continue until they are removed.  This, however, was not enforced against CMHC.  WHen the Appellant brought the property in 2008, it was told that it could continue its practice of replacing mobile homes that moved with new ones.  In April 2011, the City changed its policies and informed CMCH that it could no longer replace removed mobile homes.  CMCH appeared before the Board of Alderman to argue against enforcement of Sect. 405.  Instead the Board passed an ordinance specifically aimed at CMCH stating that once a mobile home was removed, it could not be replaced.  CMCH appealed and the Circuit Court upheld the ordinance.

 City of Richland’s Brief. (this is the only brief available)

An amicus brief was filed by  Joe T. Scott, J. Kane Ditto, Stoney Creek Company, L.L.C and Homewood Company, L.L.C.

The oral argument is at 10:00 and can be viewed here. The panel consists of Irving, P.J. and Justices Ishee and Roberts. The central issue is whether the nonconforming use that may continue until removed consists of each individual mobile home or the park as a whole.

Henderson v. State –  In this crazy case (which proves, once again, the value of birth control as well as the old adage that no good deed goes unpunished), Martez Henderson and Helouise Lane dated while both attended Rust College.  At some point Helouise informed Martez she was pregnant.  The baby was born in May 2004.   Meanwhile, Martez had dropped out of college to enter the air force so that he could provide for his child.  A week later, Martez and Helouise married by phone.  Martez was not listed as the father on the birth certificate since he was not present at the birth.  The couple and their child resided at Barksdale Air Force Base in Shreveport but Helouise left after 6 months taking the baby.  Martez sent money to Helouise and visited his daughter every two weeks. The couple reconciled and had another daughter in February 2006.  After six months, they split again.  This time the oldest daughter  stayed with Martez and Martez’s mother moved in to care for her.  A  month later, Helouise appeared and took the child.   The two reunited again in November 2006 but five months later Martez learned that Helouise was cheating on him and he moved out. Eventually, in November 2008, Martez visited the girls but instead of taking them to school, took  them to his home in Louisiana. Helouise had Martez arrested.  Four months later he was charged in Madison with kidnapping the oldest daughter.  Five months after that, Helouise asked that the charges be dropped but for the first time alleged that Martez was not the child’s father (and, apparently, he was eventually proved to not be the father).  After having been incarcerated for nine months, Martez agreed to plead guilty in exchange for being sentenced to time served.  He was not told, however, that he would have to register as a sex offender.    Some three years after the plea, Martez was informed by Louisiana that he would have to register as a sex offender since the kidnapping involved a minor under the age of 18.  In October 2012, Martez filed to vacate his plea on the grounds that it was not knowing and voluntary since he did not realize that he had a defense of in loco parentis.   The trial court denied  relief finding the motion was barred by the three-year statute of limitations and that Martez’s in loco parentis defense was known to him at the time he pleaded. Martez appealed. 

Henderson’s initial brief.

State’s brief.

Henderson’s rebuttal

Transcript of hearing on motion to vacate.

Same panel as before. Judge Roberts asks the guy from the AG’s office whether or not it is the DA’s job (here Michael Guest) to see that justice is done. Thank you for recognizing this! I’m not sure many DAs have a clue that they have any ethical obligations. Oral argument reveals that the trial court probably failed to elicit a factual basis for the plea (since there was not one) which Mississippi law would hold is sufficient to vacate the plea.

2 thoughts on “Ct. of App. – oral arg. – Wed., March 26, 2014

  1. How is kidnapping a minor a “sex offense”? That is the #1 question I have here … esp. as it’s well known that a great many kidnappings of minors are by their (putative) parents.

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