Oral arg. – Miss.S.Ct. – Tues., Feb. 17, 2015

At 10:00 a.m. – Mississippi High School Activities Assoc. v. Richard Rusty Trail – This is an interlocutory appeal presenting the question of whether an individual student athlete has standing to sue the MHSAA.  The MHSAA is a non profit organized to govern interscholastic athletics among its member schools. In Jan. 2013, Trail transferred from an Arkansas school to Olive Branch High School. The MHSAA ruled that Trail was eligible to play for Olive Branch if his family made a bona fide move to Olive Branch prior to the beginning of the following school year.  When the family did not move, the MHSAA ruled Trail ineligible. The Trails went to Chancery Court and asked for a TRO to prevent the MHSAA from disallowing Trail to play. The court ended up granting the relief pursuant to a Rule 59(e) motion. The MHSAA argues that Trail does not have standing to sue the MHSAA regarding  its contracts with member schools. The Trails argue that this Court’s ruling on standing and the MHSAA have been inconsistent and that they qualify as third party beneficiaries under the contract’s hardship exception.

MHSAA brief

Trail brief

MHSAA reply

Watch the oral argument here. 

Apparently there are no lime limits when the topic at hand is football.

At 1:30 – Burleson v. State – this is the case where the Miss.S.Ct. asked for additional briefing on the issue of whether the Court should do away with the requirement of circumstantial evidence instructions in circumstantial evidence cases.

Charles David Burleson and Jeremy Hughes were charged with capital murder (underlying felony of robbery) in the death of Stephen Holley. The cases were severed and Burleson was found guilty and sentenced to life without parole. Although there was no direct evidence, the prosecution managed to convince the trial court that the testimony of Kayla Cartwright (Jeremy’s girlfriend), that she was sitting in a car while Charles and David went in and out of Stephen’s house (supposedly during the time when Stephen must have been murdered) was direct evidence.  The court refused to give the jury the circumstantial evidence language.

On appeal, Burleson raised the issue of the trial court’s refusal to give the jury the standard circumstantial evidence instruction. On July 1, 2014, the Court asked for additional briefing on “whether this Court should abolish the requirement in ‘circumstantial evidence cases’ that the jury must be instructed that it must exclude every reasonable hypothesis other than that of guilt in order to convict.” They also ask the parties to brief whether such a holding can be applied retroactively in Burleson’s case. The order is signed by C.J. Waller. The other judges on the panel are Justices Lamar and Pierce.

Burleson’s brief

State’s brief

Court’s order requesting additional briefing

Burleson’s supp. brief

State’s supp. brief

Burleson’s supp. reply

Oral argument can be heard here

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