Decisions – Miss.S.Ct. – Jan. 26, 2017

Howard Lindsey v. State of Mississippi –  sexual battery – Lindsey was indicted for one count of gratification of lust and one count of sexual battery against his granddaughter M.L and  one count of gratification of lust and one count of sexual battery against M.L.’s cousin T.P.  On appeal, Lindsey  argues that there was no physical evidence, medical evidence,  or other testimony corroborating the testimony of the victims.  The Miss.S.Ct. affirms.

Mississippi Department of Corrections v. Robert Boyd –  parole – In 1986, Boyd was convicted of murder and two counts of aggravated assault and sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder and to four years for each aggravated assault. In  2001, he was released on parole. Eight years later, he absconded supervision and his parole was revoked. He was released on parole a second time in 2010, but again violated and was again revoked. In July 2015, Boyd asked MDOC to implement a parole case plan for him in accordance with newly enacted M.C.A.  47-7-3.1. MDOC responded that  House Bill 585 was not retroactive and that it applied only to those offenders sentenced on or after July 1, 2014.    Boyd filed a motion for judicial review in the Circuit Court of Sunflower County, and the circuit judge reversed MDOC’s decision, finding that Section 47-7-3.1 applied retroactively to offenders sentenced before July 1, 2014. MDOC appealed the the Miss.S.Ct. reverses citing its decision in Fisher v. Drankus, 204 So. 3d 1232 (Miss. 2016) in which it held that “Section 47-7-3.1 does not clearly and unequivocally express an intention for retroactive applicability.”

 

Mississippi Department of Corrections, Marshall Fisher, Earnest Lee and Sonja Stanciel v. Charles D. Allen  – another case reversed pursuant to Drancus.

Mississippi Department of Corrections v. Jerry Bland – and another case reversed pursuant to Drancus.

Quindon D. Thomas and Latara S.J. Thomas v. Chevron U.S.A., Inc. and Dwayne Haisch –  exclusivity provisions of the workers comp. statutes – Quindon Thomas  was employed by Bragg Investment Co.  d/b/a American Plant Services which had been hired by Chevron  to handle the maintenance and operation of certain permanently installed equipment and piping systems owned by Chevron.  Thomas was working at the  Chevron Refinery in Pascagoula, Mississippi, as a switch deck operator when Chevron employee Dwayne Haisch  manipulated a switch which caused a valve to open and release steam. Thomas was burned all over.

Thomas filed suit against Chevron and Haisch. The trial court granted summary judgment to Chevron and Haisch on the grounds that Thomas’ exclusive remedy was via workers comp.  Thomas argues that because Chevron was the premises owner and there was no contractor/subcontractor relationship, the workers comp. exclusivity provisions do not apply. Chevron  argues that it acts as its own general contractor when hiring subcontractors at its refinery and provides workers’ compensation benefits for its subcontractors’ employees. The Miss.S.Ct. reverses and remands. “Chevron had no duty as an employer or contractor to secure workers’ compensation insurance and its act of voluntarily purchasing coverage does not change its status. Chevron in this case is not immune from a negligence action and thus is subject to Thomas’s tort claim.”

The Court grants cert in Alvin Brown v. State of Mississippi  (the link is to the COA opinion) wherein the COA reversed because the  aggravated assault instruction  did not require the jury to find  serious bodily injury .  Brown was convicted of  manslaughter and four counts of aggravated assault arising out of a confrontation at the  Birdland night club  between Brown and Albert Coleman.  Yatasha Johnson was shot and killed; four others were shot and wounded.   Brown filed the cert. petition arguing that it was error to give an imperfect self defense instruction, his right to a speedy trial was violated, and that the COA failed to address the sufficiency of the evidence to support manslaughter.

brown-cert-ptn

The Court also grants cert in William S. Ashwell v. State of Mississippi  (the link is to the COA opinion).  William Ashwell  pleaded guilty to burglary and escape during 2006 pursuant to bills of information.  He later filed a motion for  PCR alleging that was entitled to relief because the bills of information had not been filed.  The circuit court examined the record and concluded that although not filed, they  existed when Ashwell entered his guilty pleas. The court denied relief and the COA affirms.

Ashwell filed cert. arguing “Article 3, Section 27 of the Mississippi Constitution is [not] satisfied by plea documents and a transcript, but where there is no formal charging instrument contained in the record [and] no filing of such document is reflected on the docket sheet and where not so much as a copy or draft was ever produced.” “The second issue is whether the documents presented are sufficient to establish the existence of a bill of information at the time the plea was entered, presuming for the sake of argument such existence is subject to circumstantial evidence.”

ashwell-cert-ptn

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