Decisions – Miss.S.Ct. – March 31, 2016

Aundray Isaac v. State of Mississippi – recompense for wrongful conviction – Isaac was convicted of arson.  On appeal, his conviction was reversed and rendered.  He then filed suit for recompense for wrongful conviction.  The trial court found he did not meet the requirements because he could not prove he did not set the fire. On appeal, the Miss.S>Ct. affirms.

A question of fact was before the trial court: whether Isaac intentionally set the fire to Jackson’s door on the night of March 11, 1991. Because of the nature of the action, Isaac bore the burden of proving he did not by a preponderance of the evidence. See Miss. Code Ann. § 11-44-7(1). The trial judge heard testimony and reviewed evidence, as outlined in its three-page opinion. The evidence conflicts in places, as does the testimony, but substantial, credible, and reasonable evidence exists within the record to support the trial judge’s finding that Isaac failed to “prove by a preponderance of the evidence that he did not 12 commit the crime” of arson as required by the Mississippi Wrongful Conviction Act. We therefore hold that the assignment of error is without merit.

Shirley Warren  v. State of Mississippi – defective indictment –  Warren was convicted  of possession of a controlled substance in a correctional facility. On appeal, the COA  held that Warren’s indictment was fatally defective because it failed to identify the controlled substance that Warren allegedly possessed. The Miss.S.Ct. granted cert. and reverses the COA.  “[W]e hold that Warren’s indictment sufficiently charged her with possession of a controlled substance in a correctional facility. We further hold that Warren’s other appellate issues lack merit. We reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals and reinstate and affirm the judgment of the Circuit Court of Winston County.”

In Re: Validation of Tax Anticipation Note, Series 2014, by Humphreys County, Mississippi, in the Maximum Principal Amount of One Million Two Hundred Thousand Dollars: Glenn Russell v. Humphreys County Board of Supervisors  validity of tax anticipation note – This is a taxpayer appeal of the validation of a $1,200,000 Tax Anticipation Note issued by the Humphreys County Board of  Supervisors.  A taxpayer’s objection was denied by the trial court.  The Court reverses and remands because the chancellor refused to allow the taxpayer to adduce evidence regarding the validity of the signatures on the petition protesting  the note.

We find that the chancellor erred in ruling that the time to consider the sufficiency of the signatures had passed, because Section 11-51-75 states that “all objections to any matters relating to the issuance and sale of bonds shall be adjudicated and determined by the chancery court, in accordance with the provisions of Sections 31-13-5 to 31-13-11 . . . .” (Emphasis added.) Without reference to any statute or rule of evidence, and without providing this Court with insight into her reasoning, the chancellor declined to receive and/or consider any evidence regarding the sufficiency of the signatures on the petition, despite the statutory requirement to do so. Pursuant to Rule 101 of the Mississippi Rules of Evidence, all chancellors are required to govern their proceedings in accordance with the Rules of Evidence. M.R.E. 101. See also Miss. Code Ann. § 31-13-5 (Rev. 2010). In those proceedings, “[a]ll relevant evidence is admissible. . . ,” unless otherwise provided by law. M.R.E. 402. Section 31-13-5 does not afford chancellors discretion in admitting and/or considering relevant evidence.


K. R. Borries, Individually, d/b/a K. R. Borries Construction Company v. Grand Casino of Mississippi, Inc. Biloxi –  negligent mooring/Katrina –  Borries Construction sued Grand Casino alleging that its  gambling barges broke loose from their moorings and collided with the Schooner Pier  during Hurricane Katrina.  Borries claimed that the barges were negligently moored.   The trial court granted summary judgment for Grand Casino. On appeal the Miss.S.Ct. reverses finding that this  “was a battle of the experts, and the issue should have been presented to a jury.”


Hinds County, Mississippi, City of Jackson, Mississippi, Billy Jade (Jay) Albright in his Individual Capacity and Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics v. Ronnie Burton  – MTCA police activity – A drug task force was attempting to execute a search warrant on a suspected drug house when gunfire broke out.  Several men were standing in front of the house as the taskforce arrived.  Officers claimed that at  least one of those men started shooting.  Ronnie Burton was standing with the men and began to run.  In the ensuing gun battle, he got shot in the shoulder.  He sued under the MTCA and the trial court awarded him $350,000.  The Miss.S.Ct. reverses and renders finding that Burton failed to prove that the officers acter with reckless disregard and, thus,  the defendants were immune from suit.





5 thoughts on “Decisions – Miss.S.Ct. – March 31, 2016

  1. First off Jane, thank you for taking the time to gather all of this and put it together for us. It is genuinely appreciated. Second, from what I am seeing our SC sure seems to rule against the little guys (criminal defendants, anyone suing the state or fight big business) an awful lot. Or is it just me?

    • No court likes criminal defendants although just about every inmate in Mississippi has the opposite impression of the Fifth Circuit (which is like the LEAST favorable). As for plaintiffs, the whole tort reform thing was engendered by the feeling that the Court was too favorable to plaintiffs. Where they land now on that spectrum depends on whom you ask.

  2. Eh tu, Jane?

    The Jim Hood skullduggery involving the NYC “Shysters” and Hollywood moguls at the Motion Picture Association should be front-page news across the State. Even Kingfish is conspicuously silent– no scoops from him. Maybe it’s in deference to Hood for the ongoing incarceration of Dr. Smith at Whitfield which he(Kingfish) has supported from the day the “whacking” took place in Greenwood.

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