Decisions – COA- Sept. 13, 2016

Roger Dale Craig  v. State of Mississippi aggravated assault –  Craig was convicted of manslaughter in the death of  David Smith.  He was also convicted of attempted aggravated assault, carrying a concealed weapon.  Craid and Smith had a history of conflict.  Craig shot Smith inside a convenience store in Quitman County and killed him.  The bullet landed near another man. The attempted aggravated assault was based on the bullet’s landing near the bystander.  On  appeal, Craig challenges the sufficiency of the evidence on this charge and the COA agrees with Craig and vacates the aggravated assault conviction.

In the case at hand, only one shot was fired, and Autman was in the restaurant, a different area of the building than Smith and Craig. Further, when asked if he was in the line of fire, Autman could not answer in the affirmative. Autman also noted that his diving to the floor caused him to be closer to where the bullet landed than where he was standing before the shot was fired. Craig testified that he had neither any intent to harm Autman nor any knowledge that Autman was even in the building. Further, no evidence was put forth at trial that Autman had any fear of being harmed when the shot was fired.


Mary J. Archer v. Mitchell J. Creel – legal malpractice – Mary Archer hired Mitchel Creel to represent her brother with his post-conviction proceedings, including appearing at his sentencing hearing and filing his posttrial motions. She paid him $10,000.  With teh assistance of another attorney, Creel filed a motion for  new trial and a judgment notwithstanding the verdict.  A few months later, Archer fired Creel.  She then filed a bar complaint which was dismissed.  Four years after hiring Creel, she filed a lawsuit for fraud, breach of contract and  legal malpractice.   The trial court granted summary judgment to Creel based on the statute of limitations.  The COA affirms.

Ronald Wade Betts v. Belinda Moucha Betts – allegedly false 8.05 – Ronald and Belinda divorced in 2011 after a 31-year marriage.   As part of the property-settlement agreement, Ronald agreed to pay Belinda $35,000 in $500 monthly payments.  Belinda filed a  complaint for citation of contempt of court in May 2013, claiming that Ronald had stopped making his $500 monthly payments.  Ronald filed an answer to the third complaint for contempt and a counter-petition to set aside the final decree of divorce. Ronald argued that under Rule 60(b), the divorce decree should be set aside because Belinda made a false representation to the court by intentionally filing a substantially false Rule 8.05 financial statement. On November 1, 2010, Belinda and her sister received an undivided interest in 74.6 acres of land that previously belonged to her father and mother. Ronald contended fraud occurred when Belinda failed to list this land on her Rule 8.05 financial statement.  At a hearing,   Belinda’s former  attorney testified that she did not list the 74.6 acres of land on her Rule 8.05 financial statement because the land did not belong to her. The land belonged to her mother, that her mother paid for the land, and that her father left the land for her mother when he died.  The court found Ronald in contempt for his failure to pay $500 monthly to Belinda pursuant to the divorce decree. The court also found that though Ronald established that Belinda did not disclose the property on her original Rule 8.05 statement, he failed to prove that Belinda knew of her false representation because she did not consider the land her property. Ronald appeals.  The COA affirms.


Pro se pcr appeals affirmed: 

Rita Wood  v. State of Mississippi

Damion D. Raiford  v. State of Mississippi

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