Decisions – Miss.S.Ct. -June 9, 2016

Joshua Hurst v. State of Mississippi – Joshua Hurst was convicted  on two counts of murder, two counts of aggravated assault, and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm arising out of a dice game that went bad in Jackson. On appeal Hurst argues he was deprived of his right to a speedy trial.  He also argues that the court should have granted a mistrial after one of the witnesses testified that he lied in his first statement to the police because Hurst had called him and told him “he had seen nothing” (that is, threatened the witness).  When the defense objected, the prosecution told the judge it had had no reason to anticipate this testimony.  The judge gave the defense 12 minutes to interview the witness. “Hurst does not allege that the trial court failed to follow Rule 9.04, but rather, he argues that it incorrectly exercised its discretion, because the statement was so prejudicial that it must have inflamed the jury. Yet, he did not argue at the trial court level that the testimony was per se inadmissible in and of itself.” The Miss.S.Ct. affirms.


Tomeka Handy, Individually, as Administratrix for The Estate of Willie Handy, and on Behalf of the Wrongful Death Beneficiaries for Willie Handy v. Madison County Nursing Homemed mal – 82 year old Willie Handy passed away at St Dominic’s in 2011.  She was a resident of the Madison County Nursing Home and her family filed suit alleging that the Nursing Home failed to properly assess her severe abdominal pain and distended abdomen and get her treatment in time to prevent her death.

Madison County Nursing Home moved for summary judgment based on the failure of the Plaintiff to have designated experts.  The discovery deadline had passed and the trial court granted it.  Handy argues that this was error.  Handy had given the defendants the name of her experts but was discussing with the defense the scheduling of Tomeka Handy’s deposition as well as that of Polly Ross, an employee of the Nursing Home.  Plaintiff wanted her experts to have the benefit of these witnesses.  The parties were discussing scheduling and amending the scheduling order when, according to Handy, the defense  “suddenly used the deadlines which had passed for both parties as a vehicle to gain a perceived tactical advantage over the Plaintiff.”  Handy argues that dismissal was too great a sanction in light of the  communications between the parties with regard to scheduling.  The Miss.S.Ct. affirms.


Patrick Francis Heiter v. Lindalyn Heiter, by and through the Guardian of her Estate, Haidee O. Sheffield, Esq. – Patrick and Lindalynn  divorced in  August 2001. Due to her diminished mental capacity, both an attorney and a Guardian Ad Litem represented Lindalyn during the divorce.  Patrick agreed to pay  $650.00 a month alimony to Lindalyn. In 2011 Patrick moved to modify the alimony based on the fact that she was cohabiting with a male and was receiving SSI benefits.  The chancellor denied the motion and, on appeal, the Miss.S.Ct. affirms.

Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance v. Latisha Nicole Clinkscalesjudicial misconduct – Clinkscalles was a city  court/ drug court judge  who eventually  resigned both  positions.  MCJP  began an investigation with regard to four areas: her statements on social media (among other things, she endorsed a political candidate), her operation of the Columbus Drug Court program (she put people in the program, including her nephew)  who did not agree to it), her statements in a newspaper interview (she gave misleading statements about her arrest for disobeying a police officer – a charge to which she pled no contest), and her conduct in the courtroom (she was habitually late and “acted in a manner which could be construed as discourteous and exhibiting poor courtroom demeanor”).  Eventually MCJP and Clinkscales reached an agreement whereby Clinkscales would receive a public reprimand and pay costs of the investigation, $563.18.  The Miss.S.Ct. agrees and imposes this punishment.





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