Decisions – COA – November 29, 2016

Lawrence P. Reed v. State of Mississippi – ineffective assistance –  Reed was convicted of the murder of Marco McMillian, a candidate for the office of mayor of the City of Clarksdale.  The two were heading to a party when they drove down a rural road  to  to smoke marijuana and consume alcohol. Reed ended up choking McMillian using Reed’s wallet chain and pushing  McMillian’s body down to a ditch.  He then called his girlfriend and told her about it. He then proceeded to tell every law enforcement officer he came in contact with that he murdered McMillian.  On appeal, he argues that his attorney was ineffective for failing to move to suppress the multiple statements.  The COA finds that the record does not show that his lawyer was ineffective. “Where the record cannot support an ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claim on direct appeal, the appropriate conclusion is to deny relief, preserving the defendant’s right to argue the same issue through a petition for [PCR].”  The COA affirms.

Michael Lewis Straight v. State of Mississippi –  prior bad acts evidence – Straight was convicted  of transfer of less than two grams of cocaine and sentenced as a habitual offender and subsequent drug offender to twelve years.   At trial, a witness testified that Straight was the person who gave her the cocaine and that she recognized him because she had gotten cocaine from him in the past. Straight moved for a mistrial based on the bad acts testimony.  Over Straight’s objection, the trial court gave a limiting instruction to the jury concerning any reference to prior bad acts.  On appeal, Straight argues that his case should be reversed for the bad acts evidence.

Lee Manfredi, JKS Construction, Inc., AMS Staff Leasing and Dallas National Insurance Company v. Harrell Contracting Group, LLC, Zurich American Insurance Company, Antonio Mondragon,The Charter Oak Fire Insurance Company and Travelers Insurance Company –  workers compensation –  In March 2012 Manfredi was working on the third floor of some scaffolding when he hell and suffered serious injuries. He filed a petition to controvert against a bunch of companies all of whom denied that Manfredi was their employee. The AJ temporarily ordered that  Harrell and Zurich were responsible for payment of indemnity benefits and continuing medical benefits pending a final determination.  At a subsequent  hearing,  Mondragon did not appear.   The AJ then precluded Mondragon and Charter from participating at the hearing. Both the AJ and the Commisison found Mandragon and Charter to be the actual employer and found them responsible for all reasonable and necessary medical treatment. The Commission  reversed the AJ’s decision  and found  JKS to be Manfredi’s employer by virtue of its relationship with AMS and Dallas National. JKS appealed.  The COA reverses and renders. “Application of the “control” and “nature of the work” tests reveals that Mondragon was Manfredi’s actual and responsible employer.”

Lonnie Jordan  v. State of Mississippi –  msc criminal issues –  Jordan was convicted of auto theft and kidnapping after he stole a car idling in a Hazlehurst driveway and the car just happened to have the owner’s two month old son in the vehicle. On appeal he claims he was unlawfully arrested, that the evidence was insufficient, etc. The COA affirms.

Tamara Rausch v. Barlow Woods, Inc., Shular Enterprises, Inc., MLS, Inc., and Michael Shular – dram shop case –   Rausch, her sister, Linda Howard, her brother-in-law, Mark Howard, and her cousin, James Rhodes, went to Michael’s for drinks.  They were eventually thrown out for misbehavior.  The group then left in Mark’s truck, with Mark driving, James in the front passenger seat, and Linda and Rausch in the back. Rausch and Linda then fought with each other in the backseat. At some point, Rausch fell from the vehicle and the rear wheels ran over her, causing significant injuries.  Rausch sued Michael’s for serving Mark alcohol when he was clearly intoxicated.  The trial court grants summary judgment and the COA affirms.   “[N]o witness other than Rausch testified to Mark’s visible intoxication at the time of his purchase of alcohol. Without more, we cannot find that Michael’s served a visibly intoxicated Mark to subject it to liability under section 67-3-73(4).”

Pro se PCR appeals affirmed: 

 Brian Young v. State of Mississippi 

 Quinton Latonus Carter v. State of Mississippi –


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