Decisions – COA – Feb. 14, 2017

Marterius C. Sanders v. State of Mississippi – confrontation clause – In September of 2014, CI James White arranged to buy $200 worth of crack from Karashawanna Fields.   When White arrived to make the buy, he was sold the drugs by a man later identified as Marterius Sanders.  After the buy, White met with undercover agent Chris Brown and, on video, answered questions about the buy.  White stated that the a man named “G”  provided the drugs.  Before Sanders could be tried, White was killed.  Sanders asked that the video tape be suppressed.  The trial court ruled it admissible. On appeal he argues that his right to confrontation was violated because the jury was allowed t o hear White’s videotaped statements but Sanders could not cross examine White.  The COA finds that White’s statement was testimonial and should not have been admitted but refuses to reverse finding that the error was harmless.

 

Curtis A. White v. State of Mississippi –  right to present a defense/404(b)/ prosecutorial misconduct – – Curtis White was convicted  of two counts of gratification of lust and one count of statutory rape involving his niece, thirteen- year-old M.M.,  and  her twelve-year- old friend L.M.  At trial White attempted to introduce social media posts allegedly written by M.M. that showed she was engaged in a romantic relationship with another girl as well as evidence that M.M. had been treated for behavioral problems to prove that M.M. had a motive for making up the allegations against White.  The trial court refused to allow the evidence. White also appeals on the issue that the court allowed the state to introduce other bad acts evidence that White had had a relationship with a fifteen year old when he was twenty-three.   The COA finds that both issues require reversal.  It also finds that numerous acts of prosecutorial misconduct constituted reversible error. (It’s pretty egregious.  Anyone know who the assistant DA who did this is?)

Frank Thomas Friday  v. State of Mississippi –

 

Jerry L. Kennedy v. Claiborne County, Mississippi, by and through its Board of Supervisors, Claiborne County Hospital and Board of Trustees of Claiborne County Hospital – contract with governmental entity – In July 2012, the Claiborne County took control of the Claiborne County Hospital.  They then selected Jerry Kennedy as administrator for $20,000 a month for five years. In  April  2013, the Board informed Kennedy he did not have a valid contract because there was never one reflected in the minutes. It then offered him a one year contract.  Kennedy insisted on a five year contract and filed suit.  The circuit court held a trial and found that the minutes were not sufficient to create a valid and enforceable contract for a term of five years between Kennedy and the Board.   Kennedy appals and loses. “Although the contract was signed by a board member, there are no minutes to show that the board member was authorized to unilaterally enter into the contract or to bind the Board as a whole.”

Charles E. Stasher and Sarah Eula Stasher v. Patricia Ann Perry, Executrix of the Estate of Randy Archie Springer, Deceased – adverse possession –  The stashers purchased property from  Fulton Cannon in Madison County.  The Stashers were going to have cattle on the property so they put up a fence.  Instead of having the fence line surveyed, they relied on Cannon’s pointing out where the fence should be placed.  Some twenty years later, the adjacent property, originally owned by Cannon, was sold to the Springers.  The Springers realized that the Stasher fence was on the Springer property and filed suit for adverse possession and to quiet title to the 2.2 acres involved.  The Stashers counterclaimed for adverse possession.  The trial court found for the Springers and the Stashers appealed.  The COA affirms.

Timothy Meadows v. State of Mississippi  – youth court vs circuit court – In  August 2014, some friends rode four wheelers along the Leaf RIver.  A dispute broke out about whether to leave a broken four wheeler behind.  Alex Crews and Timothy Meadows retsrained Timothy Williamson in a headlosck.  When law enforcement arrived, WIlliamson was dead. Meadows and Crews were convicted on manslaughter in circuit court.  On appeal, they argue, and the  State concedes, that the circuit court  lacked jurisdiction due to the State’s failure to follow the statutory procedure for transferring cases from youth court. Both Meadows and Crews were 17 at the time of Williamson’s death.  By law,  the case had to originate in youth court and could only be transferred upon a transfer order from youth court which never happened here. “‘[T]he statutory youth court transfer procedure is comprehensive and must be followed. The consequences of carving exceptions are far too grave.’ Buck v. State, 838 So. 2d 256, 261 (¶13) (Miss. 2003).”

After our review of the record and relevant caselaw, we find that the youth court possesses exclusive original jurisdiction over this proceeding. As a result, the circuit court lacked trial jurisdiction over this case since there was not a transfer of jurisdiction to the circuit court from the youth court as required by section 43-21-151. We therefore reverse on the issue of jurisdiction, and we remand to the circuit court with instructions to vacate the convictions and sentences of Crews and Meadows and immediately dismiss the proceeding without prejudice and forward all documents pertaining to this cause to the Jones County Youth Court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. See Buck, 838 So. 2d at 260-61 (¶13). In so doing, we also deny the State’s request for alternative relief of a retroactive determination by the youth court as to whether the youth court would have transferred this case to the circuit court had the case been properly brought before it. We find that the issue of jurisdiction is dispositive; hence, this Court will not address the remaining assignments of error raised herein.

State of Mississippi v. Boyce Willard parole –  Boyce Willard was convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment in 1984.  He has repeatedly been denied parole.   In 2015, Willard filed a petition alleging  that the Parole Board violated MCA Sect.  47-7- 18(6) by  imposing a five-year “setoff”  until his next parole hearing. The circuit court granted Willard’s petition and ordered the Parole Board to provide him with a hearing date that complied with section 47-7-18(6). The State appealed and the COA reverses and renders because WIllard never served the Parole Board with his lawsuit.

 

Pro se PCR appeal affirmed:

Ronald David Wright  v. State of Mississippi 

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