Oral arg. — Miss. S.Ct. – June 3, 2014

At 10:30 a.m. the court will hear In the Matter of the inclusion into Oxford, Mississippi

Some persons asked to have their property annexed by the City of Oxford.  The Court granted the petition and Kenneth F. Farrell and James Morris filed an appeal.  

This is how the Appellants/objectors frame the argument:

 This is an appeal of the granting of an “inclusion” petition regarding enlarging the borders and boundaries of the City of Oxford. The Petitioners requested that certain land – about a square quarter-mile, or 160 acres in unincorporated Lafayette County be included, or annexed  into, Oxford. The Appellants are individual objectors to the Inclusion Petition. State law requires that an inclusion petition be signed by two-thirds of the qualified electors residing in the area proposed to be included in the city limits. Only one of the three Petitioners, Catherine Babb, claimed to reside in the area, and Ms. Babb is also claimed to be the entire 160-acre area’s sole resident; it is undisputed that the remainder of the area was always vacant and uninhabited. However, even Ms. Babb no longer lives in the area, and had in fact moved from the area before trial. The Objectors ask this Court to rule that an inclusion petition cannot be granted when the proposed area actually has no inhabitants requesting to be included, because the trial court had no jurisdiction. Two other issues are on appeal, as well. Additionally, a dispute arose after trial regarding the necessity of the Petitioners to supplement the record with hundreds of pages of documents, exhibits, and trial transcript, all at a cost of thousands to the Objectors, when those documents were not central to the issues narrowed on appeal months earlier by the Objectors as appellants. Finally, Objectors raise the question of whether their attorney’s request for a continuance at trial should have been granted, based on the fact.

 

Appellants’/objectors’ brief

Appellees/petitioners’ brief

As to the first issue, the Appellees state: 

In every decision where this Court has interpreted the “two-thirds” signature requirement (Myrick included), this Court has found that the question of whether the “two-thirds” signature requirement has been met is determined when the petition is filed. As Ms. Babb was the sole qualified elector residing in the Proposed Inclusion Area at the time both the original and amended inclusion petitions were filed and Ms. Babb signed both petitions, this Court must reject the Objectors’ argument as being contrary to the provisions of Miss. Code Ann. § 21-1-45 and prior decisions of this Court.

 

oral argument site (operable only during argument at 10:30 Tuesday)

Oh yeah, and there’s an election tomorrow. 

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