Decisions – COA – June 2, 2015 – part 1

Alphonzo Garth v. State  – search of car –  Garth was convicted of the possession of more than thirty grams of cocaine.  He argues that the drugs should have been suppressed as an illegal search incident to an arrest.  Garth and another man were sitting in a vehicle outside some apartments in West Point.  Cops were searching for the other man for a disturbance at the apartments. When officers approached the vehicle, Garth  had an open container of an alcoholic beverage between his legs. , Garth exited the vehicle, hitting one of the officers with the door, and then attempted to strike the officer. As the  officer defended himself, Garth threw a clear plastic bag that contained something white  which was picked up by a bystander who took off with it.   Garth was arrested for assaulting the police officer and taken away from the scene. A drug-sniffing dog was brought to look for narcotics and “alerted” to the presence of illegal drugs. Officers opened the door and found what was later determined to be 37 grams of cocaine in a pocket on the driver’s door. The officers also found digital scales and an additional 2.7 grams of cocaine in the center console.  Garth argues that the illegal because a search incident to an arrest in limited to the Chimel area.  The COA affirms finding that officers “had  a different justification for the warrantless search: probable cause based on a drug-sniffing dog alerting to illegal drugs at the driver’s door of Garth’s automobile.”

Keith Allen Davis v. State –  stupider than normal murder – Davis killed the unfortunate man, Nathan Baker,  who came to his house to turn off the power because the bill had not been paid.  Davis was convicted of deliberate design murder.  He raises only sufficiency of the evidence issues (he testified it was self defense like anyone is going to believe that the power dude cares so much about his job he’ll attack people to get it done) which are rejected by the Court.

Vera Wood v. Emma Miller partition – This case involves the partition of 261 acres in Yazoo County.  The land originally belonged to Anderson Miller who left it to his two sons as tenants in common. One son’s only heir was his wife Magnolia who left her interest to Audrey Kemp and Donna Smith.  The others son’s interest was inherited by his four sons but one died without heirs meaning his portion went to his brothers so each brother had a 1/6th interest.  After one of those brothers  died, his nine children inherited his share.   In 2004 Kemp and Smith filed to partition the property.   Six years later eleven of the heirs (children of two of the brothers) claimed title to all of the property via adverse possession.  Their attorney never set the issue for a  hearing so the court finds this issue waived and upholds the chancellor’s order partitioning the land.

James Harper v. Land O’Lakesworkers comp. –  Harper was working at Land O ‘Lakes when, in March 2009, he got his feet caught in a fertilizer conveyor belt. Harper filed a petition to controvert claiming injuries to his legs and lower back.  Land O’ Lakes Inc., accepted Harper’s claims of lower-extremity injuries but enied compensability for his lower-back injury.  The ALJ found a fifty percent industrial loss to both of Harper’s lower extremities, and the AJ ordered Harper to undergo an independent medical examination (IME) to assess Harper’s lower-back claim. Land O’ Lakes appealed the AJ’s findings to the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Commission (Commission). The Commission affirmed the AJ’s award of permanent partial disability benefits for Harper’s lower extremities; however, it found a four percent impairment per foot/leg, as opposed to the AJ’s finding of a fifty percent industrial loss. The Commission also affirmed the AJ’s order of an IME in regard to Harper’s lower-back claim. Both parties appealed. The COA dismisses. “Because we find that there has not been a final judgment, we dismiss the present appeal and cross-appeal as interlocutory.”

Robert Patrick Terrell v. State –  contempt recusal – In 2013, Terrell was indicted on 20 different charges including mail fraud, identity theft, timber theft, etc.  Trial was set for February 19, 2014.  The court reporter was ill so the judge excused the jury until the next day.  Terrell was observed talking to two of the potential jurors in the parking lot.  The next day, a venireperson called the circuit clerk and asked to be excused from jury service because Terrell had called him that morning.  The judge questioned several persons and scheduled a hearing for Terrell’s constructive contempt the next day.  Terrell’s attorney objected   for failure of Rule 81 service of process, insufficient time to prepare.  The court denied the objections, a hearing was held the following day and Terrell was fined $500 and six months imprisonment.  On appeal, Terrell argues:  1) the judge should have recused himself; 2) lack of adequate notice; 3) insufficient evidence and 4) error to revoke his bail.  The COA reversed. “Where a judge has initiated indirect contempt proceedings, particularly when a show-cause order has been issued, a judge must remove himself from the proceedings.” 

Pro se pcrs denied:

William Salter v. State 

Quartaveous Strickland v. State

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