Decisions – COA – Dec. 8, 2015 – part 1


Cornelius Parks v. Stateappeal of misdemeanor – Cornelius Parks was convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence in justice court. He appealed to circuit court, but the court dismissed for lack of jurisdiction because it found that the appeal was not properly perfected when Parks failed to obtain both a cost and an appearance bond nut filed a single “cost and appearance bond.”  The COA finds that the one bond “plausibly purports to serve as both a cost bond and an appearance bond” and “met the bare minimum requirements of Rule 12.02 that are necessary to confer jurisdiction on the circuit court.”

Rule 12.02(B)(1) and (2) make clear that the amounts of both the appearance bond and the cost bond ‘shall be determined by the judge of the lower court’—here, the justice court. As the county prosecutor points out, there is nothing in the record to indicate that the justice court judge set either bond in this case. If Parks simply decided for himself what amounts would be appropriate, this was a clear violation of Rule 12.02

On remand, the circuit court may decide whether Parks should be granted leave to amend his “cost and appearance bond” to correct these and any other deficiencies. Whether to grant Parks leave to correct such errors is a matter committed to the discretion of the circuit judge.

Jermaine Rogers v. State – ineffective assistance/guilty plea – Rogers pleaded guilty to capital murder and was sentenced to lwop. He then filed a pcr motion alleging that his attorney was ineffective for not filing a motion to have a mental evaluation performed on Rogers because his attorney knew that Rogers had been treated for depression at the age of 16.   At the hearing, Rogers had a psychologist and his parents testify about his mental health problems. The COA affirms.

In the Matter of the Estate of Dorothy Cole Phelps – validity of holographic will/undue influence – three daughters claim that their mother lacked testamentary capacity and was under the undue influence of their brother.  The chancellor finds the will properly admitted.  The COA affirms.

Jeff Cahn v. COPAC –   med malCahn was at Copac, an inpatient drug and alcohol treatment facility located in the metro area.  While there he died from an overdose of  Buprenorphine (aka suboxone) a medication used to treat opioid addiction.  His family sued Copac as well a doctor and two nurses. The trial court granted the defendnats’ motion to dismiss finding that the claim was barred by the wrongful conduct rule because Cahn stole the drugs from the doctor’s desk.  The COA reverses finding that “he ‘wrongful conduct’ rule does not, as a matter of law, bar the Cahns’ claims that COPAC had a duty to use reasonable care to assess, monitor, and treat Ben on Sunday, December 18, 2011, after his first urine sample indicated the presence of Suboxone.”

Steven Joseph Mahaffey v. William Carey University –  student’s breach of contract claim against a college – In September 2009, William Carey University obtained provisional accreditation for a school of osteopathic medicine. Steven Jacob Mahaffey was in its first class of students.  They started in  August 2010. In February 2012, he was put on probation for several instances of alleged unprofessional behavior. A year later, in his third year of medical school and after failing his pediatrics rotation, he was expelled.   He then filed suit in circit court against William Carey on the grounds that his expulsion violated the school’s handbook.   The Court granted the University’s motion for summary judgment.  Mahaffey appeals arguing that there were material factual disputes that should have precluded summary judgment. The COA affirms.

Edith Gailliard v. North Benton County Health Center – statute of limitations and workers comp. – Edith Gaillard worked for some 30 years at Benton Medical Center and ended up with carpal tunnel.  Her employer  paid her weekly benefits of $398.93 from the date of injury. Treatment was contested.  Gaillard filed a petition in  December 2010.  In November 2011, the ALJ entered an order finding “…that Claimant has not filed a complete Prehearing Statement per Commission Procedural Rule 5”, and as a result, dismissed the case noting the Order would become final unless a written request for review was filed within twenty (20) days. Id at 8. The ALJ also held the dismissal was “the rejection of a claim” sufficient to trigger the one-year statute of limitations found in Miss. Code Ann. §71-3-53.   Gailliard did not file to  reopen her claim until August 2013.  In April 2014, the ALJ ordered the matter reopened reasoning that because the employer voluntarily continued to pay indemnity benefits until August 6, 2012, the appropriate one year statute of limitation had been tolled.   The Commission reversed the ALJ  finding that the ALJ was  without jurisdiction to  reopen the claim because the prior Order dismissing the claim became final 20 days after being entered, and triggering the commencement of the 1 year statute of limitations.  Gailliard appealed. The COA affirms.

Charles Greg Davis v. State – mayor ordered to reimburse state – In this case, former Southhaven mayor Davis is appealing a judgment tin favor of the State  which sought reimbursement for monies Davis was alleged to have spent on personal items.  The COA affirms.

Pro se pcrs affirmed 

Daniel Zales v. Stateineffective assistance claims raised by defendant who proceeds pro se with standby counsel – Zales was indicted for as an habitual offender for kidnaping, rape, and uttering a counterfeit instrument by forging a minister’s signature on a marriage certificate he insisted showed that he married his rape victim.   He chose to do an Alford plea to the uttering charge and to represent himself with standby counsel. He was sentenced to ten years without parole.  He the filed a pro se pcr arguing that counsel was ineffective.  The COA finds that by pleading guilty and representing himself, he waived the zillion issues he tries to raise now.

Kendra Stricklin v. State

James Gandy v. State

William Robert McMickle v. State 

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