Decisions – Miss.S.Ct. – July 31, 2014 – part 2

Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance v. Leigh Ann Darby – Leigh Ann Darby was a drug court judge, youth court referee and family master in Tate County. She was already reprimanded once in Mississippi Judicial Performance Commission v. Darby, 75 So.3d 1037 (Miss. 2011). By her own admission she lacks a judicial temperament and she wrongfully incarcerated eight parents by denying them due process before having them jailed. Apparently it was so bad that the Tate County Board of Supervisors passed a “No Confidence” resolution and suspended her for 60 days. Thereafter she resigned. The Miss. Commission on Judicial Performance filed a formal complaint. Judge Darby stipulated that she had violated
Canons 1, 2A, 3B(2), and 3B(8) when she “wrongfully incarcerated eight parents and three minors without first affording [each] basic due process rights.” Judge Darby also stipulated that she

“frequently violated Canon 3B(4) when she treated litigants and others with whom she dealt in her official capacity in an abusive, belittling, impatient, unprofessional, and discourteous manner.” Judge Darby further stipulated that she “violate[d] § 177A of the Mississippi Constitution . . . as said conduct constitutes misconduct in office and conduct prejudicial to
the administration of justice which brings the judicial office into disrepute.” The jointly proposed recommendation was that she “be removed from judicial office and prohibited from
holding judicial office in the future and assessed costs of court in the sum of two hundred dollars ($200).” The Commission unanimously “accept[ed] and adopt[ed] the Agreed
Statement of Facts and Proposed Recommendation.”

The Commission recommended she be removed from office and assessed costs of $200. The Miss.S.Ct. agrees but adds a fine of $1000.

Mathews v. City of Madison – The Miss. S.Ct. granted cert. in this case which was decided by the Court of Appeals on September 17, 2013. Mark Mathews was convicted of simple assault and disorderly conduct in an incident that started as a visitation dispute. Mark had driven to the house of the girl’s mother, Brittany Sullivan, to return their daughter. Mark was not allowed on the property because of a prior trespassing conviction so he stayed on the street. Brittany lived with her mother Pam Sullivan. Pam came out to Mark’s truck and told Mark that Brittany was not there. Mark refused to turn the child over to Pam. Pam then tried to wrest the girl from the truck and a struggle ensued. Pam eventually got the child and took her into the yard where Mark could not go. Mark called Madison police. Pam called her neighbor Mike Brown who happened to be a Madison police officer. Mike came to the house dressed in civilian clothes. Two Madison police officers also reported to the scene. Mark was trying to call his father when one of the officers ordered Mark to get off the phone. Mark replied that the officer could not stop him from using his phone. The officer then arrested Mark for disorderly conduct. Mark was convicted of disorderly conduct and simple assault arising from the struggle with Pam. For the assault he was to serve 180 days with 150 suspended. For the disorderly conduct he was to serve 180 days with 175 suspended. Mark appealed and the convictions and sentences were affirmed by the Ct. of Appeals.
Mark filed a petition for cert. arguing that the trial court and Ct. of Appeals erred in ruling the castle doctrine did not apply to his case. He also challenges the sufficiency of the evidence of disorderly conduct and assault as well as the exclusion of defense evidence in the form of the Madison dispatch report. The Miss.S.Ct. affirms but for different reasons. The Court of Appeals found that the Castle Doctrine did not apply because there was no showing that Mark was in fear of imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or others. In this case, though, Pam was where she had a right to be when she retrieved the child from the car and thus, the Castle Doctrine did not apply.

The Election Commission of the Town of Edwards v. Marcus Wallaceelection dispute – MArcus Wallace sought to run as an independent for the office of mayor of Edwards. The Edwards Municipal Election Commission refused to put him on the ballot after determining that of the 60 signatures on Wallace’s petition, only 33 were of qualified voters. Later the Commission found that it was wrong about ten of the signatures but Wallace still only had 43 when he needed 50. Wallace filed suit and the Miss.S.Ct appointed Judge Vernon Cotten to hear the dispute. Wallace presented affidavits from the seven people whose signatures were considered invalid. The Court held that the Commission erred when it refused to consider the affidavits given that there was no evidence to contradict them. Judge Cotten ordered that Wallace had qualified to be on the ballot. On appeal, the Miss.S.Ct. affirms.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s