Decisions – Miss.S.Ct. – March 17, 2016

Jason Hall v.  State of Mississippi Wrongful Conviction Act – Hall was indicted for burglary.  The trial court allowed the jury to consider  accessory after the fact to burglary.  The jury convicted him of the latter.   On appeal. the Miss.S.CT. reversed finding that Hall was convicted of a crime for which he was not indicted, and that Hall did not waive indictment. Hall v. State, 127 So. 3d 202 (Miss. 2013). Thereafter Hall filed suit seeking  compensation under the Wrongful Conviction Act, M.C.A. Sect. 11-44-1 to -15.  The circuit court dismissed the case finding that Hall had failed to establish his innocence as required by Section 11-44-7(1)(b), because the Order Passing to Inactive Files was neither a dismissal nor a nol pross pursuant to Section 11-44-3(c). Hall appealed the the Miss.S.Ct. reverses.

Here, though, what the district attorney passed to the files was the indictment for cause number 11-178CR, which is what comprised Hall’s burglary-of-a-building charge. Based on double-jeopardy grounds, because Hall was acquitted of the burglary charge by a  jury, Hall is entitled to a dismissal of the indictment with prejudice, as that was the only charge contained in the indictment. Contrary to the State’s contention and the circuit court’s ruling, this particular case meets the statutory prerequisites of Section 11-44-3(1)(c).


Cheryl L. High v. Todd Kuhn and Angela T. Kuhn  –  eminent domain – Todd and Angela Kuhn petitioned the special court of eminent domain for a private road across Cheryl High’s property in Gulfport.  The court granted it.  On appeal, the Miss.S.Ct. finds that the Kuhns sued pursuant to M.C.A. Sect. 65-7-201 but Sec. 110 of the State Constitution does not extend to land within incorporated cities and towns. Because the private property the Kuhns sought to condemn for a private road was in the incorporated City of Gulfport, the special court of eminent domain could not condemn High’s property for the Kuhns’ private benefit. The Court reverses and renders.

Patrick Bernard Giles  v. State –  ineffective assistance – Nineteen-year-old Giles was convicted of sexual battery after having sex with a twelve year old. On appeal he raises several issues of ineffective assistance of counsel.  The Court finds that some are without merit and others cannot be decided on the record and that Giles can raise them in a pcr.

Eddie Hall  v. State –  jury selection issues –  Hall was convicted of murdering Tubby Hubbard.  Both were at a horse show when a fight broke out.   Hall retrieved a gun from his trailer and shot Tubby twice as Tubby attempted to break up the fight.  On appeal  Hall argues that the judge erred in instructing Juror Number 1 to act as foreperson, in failing to ask each potential juror if they had served on a jury within the last two years, in failing to require potential jurors to completely fill out the jury questionnaire,  and in automatically dismissing potential jurors who answered in the positive to the question “have any of you  ever been convicted of a crime that is punishable by imprisonment in this state’s penitentiary, or any other state’s penitentiary, or in the Federal Court system?” during the jury selection process.  The Miss.S.Ct. finds that Hall did not object to any of these at trial and they are waived.  and that he received ineffective assistance of counsel. He also raises issues of ineffective assistance which the Court finds are without merit or must be raised on pcr.

 Northeast Mental Health – Mental Retardation Commission v. V. M. Cleveland – leases with governmental entities – In 2000, Northeast Mental Health – Mental Retardation Commission entered into a ninety-nine-year lease with V.M. Cleveland whereby the Commission would  pay $18,000 a month to rent a facility built by Cleveland  on land owned by the Commission.  Under the contract, if the Commission cannot pay that rent due to insufficient funds, it must quit-claim its land to the developer without compensation. In 2011, the Commission filed suit to rescind the contract.  After a trial, the chancellor found the contract enforceable.  The Commission appeals arguing, among other things, that “governing  boards cannot bind their successors in office to contracts which take away discretionary rights and powers conferred by law unless specifically authorized by statute.” The Miss.S.Ct. reverses.Because this agreement violates the common-law rule against binding successors, we reverse the chancellor’s judgment and render judgment in the Commission’s favor.

Ana Gloria Moreno v. TLSL, Inc. and Randall Walker –  wrongful death/motor vehicle wreck – Arnoldo Moreno, Juan Estrada, and Jose Garcia-Guillan were killed in a motor-vehicle collision when Arnoldo’s pickup truck collided with an eighteen-wheeler tractor-trailer, owned by TLSL and driven by Walker.  The jury directed a verdict for the defendants inasmuch as the evidence showed that Arnoldo failed to yield and there was no evidence that the defendants’ tail lights were not working. Arnoldo appealed and the Miss.S.Ct. affirms.



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