Decisions – COA – March 24, 2015 – part 1

Propst Pittman v. Ty Pittmancruel and inhumane treatment divorce –  Propst and Ty married in 1992, had two kids and separated in 2000.  Propst filed for divorce on the grounds of cruel and inhumane treatment.  At the close of her evidence, the trial court granted Ty’s motion for involuntary dismissal.  The COA affirms.

In granting Ty’s motion for an involuntary dismissal, the chancellor, viewing the evidence fairly, found that the evidence presented did not meet the elements of cruel and inhuman treatment. The chancellor noted that, although Propst claimed that Ty forced her into bankruptcy, Propst testified that she was represented by counsel. The chancellor found there was no evidence that Ty coerced Propst into bankruptcy. As to physical abuse, the chancellor noted that Propst made general allegations of abuse without specificity, except regarding the occasion in which Ty grabbed her from behind when she attempted to leave his house with important papers and the occasion outside Propst’s accountant’s office when Ty forcefully took papers from Propst. However, the chancellor noted that at no time were the police called, nor were medical records produced documenting abuse.

Helen Robinson v. Trustmark  foreclosure – Robinson challenged the foreclosure on her house. The trial court granted summary judgment to the bank.  Robinson appeals and the COA affirms.

Derome Cavittfingerprints as sole evidence of guilt – Cavitt was convicted of burglary of a dwelling and sentenced as an habitual to 25 years without parole. He was convicted of burglarizing an apartment in the complex where his sister lived.  The evidence consisted of his fingerprint being found on the metal frame of the window which was used to gain access to the apartment. Cavitt’s former girlfriend testified as an alibi witness for Cavitt.  On appeal Cavitt argues that the evidence was insufficient.  The COA affirms.

Ryan Catledge v. State – “confession during investigatory hold ” – Catledge was convicted of the statutory rape of his 11 or 12 year old de facto step sister.  He appeals arguing that the trial court erred in not suppressing his confession. When the girl revealed that she had had sex with Catledge, a deputy came to her house and, upon finding Catledge there, took him in for an “investigatory hold.”  Catledge, still in jail, wrote out a confession four days later.  He argues that it should have been suppressed because it was the result of an illegal arrest.  The Court finds that law enforcement would have interrogated Catledge earlier except that they misunderstood tha the right to an arraignment within 48 hours did not have an exception for weekends.   Catledge executed a Miranda waiver.  “There also appears to be no doubt that, at the latest, the authorities had probable cause to have made a legal arrest a short time after Catledge was detained and that the probable cause did not stem from the detention itself. Nor was the confession obtained ‘by exploitation of the illegal detention.'” See Jones v. State, 330 So. 2d 597, 600 (Miss. 1976).  He also argues that he should have been allowed to cross-examine the deputy regarding her misuse of a fuel card.  The Court finds that he abandoned that line of questioning.  Nor does it agree with Catledge that the evidence was insufficient.

Michael Sullivan v. Shinobu Sullivan custody –  The chancellor awarded custody to the mother.  Father appeals.  The COA affirms.

Deirdre and Barry Swafford v. Fazal Manajwala, M.D. – medical malpractice – Deirdre underwent a hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (removal of a fallopian tube and ovary) during which her bowel was punctured.  This was repaired by another doctor assisted by the doctor who did the first surgery.  Deirdre claims the second surgery was not properly performed.  The Swaffords were unable to designate an expert within the time allowed and filed a motion to extend all the deadlines for 90 days.  The defendants opposed the extension and filed a motion for summary judgment.  “The Swaffords retained an expert witness  eighty days after they filed the motion for additional time. A week later, the Swaffords scheduled a hearing on their motion for additional time.”  The court struck the affidavit and found that “sufficient cause” did not exist to extend the deadline.  It also held that  expert affidavit was allowed, it failed to establish the Swaffords’ claim of  medical negligence.  It therefore granted summary judgment to the defendants. The COA affirms on both grounds.

Ryan Rhymer v. StateDUI 1 – Rhymer was convicted of DUI 1 and careless driving after blowing a .10 on the breathalyzer.  Although he had an expert testify that his chewing tobacco could have impacted the breathalyzer reading, the circuit judge sitting without a jury found him guilty.  The COA affirms.

Charlie Bounds v. State –  pcr procedure –  Bounds was convicted of capital rape and sentenced to life in 1971.  On direct appeal, his conviction was affirmed.  In  2013, he filed a motion for post-conviction relief in the circuit court that the court dismissed, partly because Bounds had failed to seek leave from the supreme court to file his PCR motion. Bounds then filed a motion with the supreme court seeking leave to proceed. He also filed an appeal of the trial court’s decision.  “The supreme court denied his request. As such, the circuit court and this Court are without authority to hear the appeal. This action is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.”  The rule is that if you’ve had an appeal, you need to file your pcr with the Miss.S.Ct and get permission first.

PCR appeals affirmed

Jesus Castro v. State

Kevin Thomas v. State 

Dean C. Boyd v. State 

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