Oral arg. – Dec. 2, 2015

The COA is hearing two cases and the Mississippi Supreme Court is hearing one.

At 10:00 the COA is hearing Brandon Smith and  Kimberley Wolfe Smith v. Milton and Geneva Martin  which involves the trial court’s granting of visitation for grandparents.  After the parents divorced, the father committed suicide. The mother remarried and her new husband adopted her two sons.  They allowed the paternal grandparents visitation but stopped it after it appeared the grandparents were displeased with the adoption and alienating the two boys from their adoptive father. The grandparents sued for visitation which the court granted.  The parents have appealed.

Brandon and Kimberley Smith’s brief

Milton and Geneva Martin’s brief

The Smith’s rebuttal brief

Watch the argument here

At 1:30 the COA will hear Paul T. Brown v. Hederman Bros, LLC.   Paul T. Brown  owns  Bookmark Publishing, LLC which  publishes photographs and books. In 2010, Brown approached Hederman Brothers about printing a series of calendars for Bookmark.  Brown ended up signing  in his individual capacity a continuing guaranty obligating Brown to pay up to $45,000.00, plus interest, attorneys’ fees, and collection costs, as the guarantor on Bookmark’s open account with Hederman Brothers.   Hederman Brothers ended up filing suit on the guaranty.  The trial court granted summary judgment for Hederman Brothers.  Brown appeals arguing that Hederman Brothers could not collect on the guaranty without  first exhausting all avenues of recovery against Bookmark.

Paul Brown’s brief

Hederman Bros’ brief

Watch the argument here

At 10:30, the Miss. Supreme Court will hear Jerry Wayne Atwood v. State regarding the application of the 2014 amendment regarding technical violations of probation in a revocation proceeding that took place one day after the amendment became effective.

 In 2014, Atwood pleaded guilty to one count of grand larceny in Wayne County. He was sentenced to serve ten years with nine years eleven months suspended and thirty days to serve.  The Court ordered various conditions of post-release supervision including the payment of $3,682 in restitution, costs and fees. In May of 2014, MDOC moved to revoke Atwood’s probation because he had been ejected from the Hinds County Restitution Center.  The trial court revoked Atwood’s probation and sentenced him to serve nine years and eleven months.   Atwood filed a motion for pcr  arguing that the legislature amended the statute governing revocation of probation  and it became effective on July 1, 2014 – the day before Atwood’s revocation hearing.  The amendment, contained in MCA Sect. 47-7-37(5)(a), states that   “[i]f the court revokes probation for a technical violation, the court shall impose a period of imprisonment to be served in either a technical violation center or a restitution center not to exceed ninety (90) days for the first technical violation[.]”  Atwood argues that the trial court’s imposition of a sentence greater than that authorized by MCA Sect. 47-7-37(5) is illegal.

Atwood’s brief

State’s brief 

Atwood’s rebuttal brief

Watch the argument here

One thought on “Oral arg. – Dec. 2, 2015

  1. I attended the oral argument in Smith v. Martin, the grandparent suit yesterday.

    It is unthinkable that our legislature, and our courts, put parents like the Smiths through such an ordeal. They are trying to protect their children and their family from efforts by the Grandparents to destroy the children’s trust and love for their daddy, and then the court tells them they cannot do that.

    What are a father and mother to do when their family is under attack and the courts tie their hands when they try to defend it?

    These are fundamental, constitutional rights of parents to raise, protect, and shelter their children from harmful influences, that our courts just routinely run roughshod over in these grandparent visitation suits.

    In the lower court’s decision overruling the parents’ judgment and granting visitation, the judge never once even mentioned the fundamental basis on which visitation had been withheld – that the grandparents were harming the children emotionally by alienating them from their parents. In fact, the judge tried to shift the blame off on the very parents who were desperate to save their family from disintegration.

    Terrible situation. I hope the COA rights this terrible wrong.

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