Decisions – COA – March 7, 2017

Jabroski Lloyd  v. State of Mississippi –  sufficiency of the evidence – Lloyd  was indicted for kidnapping three people and aggravated assault of two others after Loyd accosted them while leaving a club, put a gun to the head of one of t hem, and ordered him to drive.  While he was being driven,  Lloyd  leaned out the window and fired at another car.  Several of the charges were dropped because the witnesses were unavailable to testify.  But Lloyd was convicted of aggravated assault.  On appeal he challenges only the sufficiency of the evidence.  At trial, he sought to impeach one of the witnesses with a letter supposedly recanting the charges.  The witness testified he was in jail when Lloyd’s lawyer came to see him and gave him something to sign. He signed it thinking that that was his lawyer and that it was something that would help him with his case.  He never intended to recant the allegations against Lloyd.  The COA affirms.

Walter Williams v. City of Belzoni and Alderman Gary Farmer, Individually – Appeal from an employment decision by Board of Aldermen – Walter Williams was the public works director for the City of Belzoni. The board of aldermen voted not to renew his employment. While Williams had a  statutory right to appeal the board’s decision to circuit court, he did not do so.  Instead, more than a year later, he filed an independent lawsuit against the city and one alderman  asserting claims for defamation and “wrongful termination.”  The circuit court dismissed the entire action without prejudice, reasoning that it was without jurisdiction because Williams failed to file a timely appeal from the board’s decision not to renew his employment.   The COA affirms. “The circuit court properly dismissed Williams’s wrongful termination claim because he failed to file a timely appeal, which is the exclusive remedy for a party aggrieved by such a decision of a municipal authority. In addition, Williams’s defamation claim against the city is barred by sovereign immunity, and his defamation claim against Farmer is barred by the statute of limitations.”  The dismissal, though, should be with prejudice.

 

Jerami Williams  v. State of Mississippi – ineffective assistance – Williams was convicted on burglary of a dwelling after two men kicked in the door of Christopher Williams’ home in July 2013. Christopher recognized both men; one of them was Jerami Williams. On appeal Williams argues his attorney was ineffective for not requesting an alibi instruction; informing the jury during opening statements that Jerami had other convictions; and eliciting testimony from Jerami about his prior convictions.

After reviewing the record herein and applying the standard set forth in Strickland, we find that the record before us reflects no affirmative showing of ineffective assistance of counsel on its face. Jerami’s ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claim is more appropriately brought during postconviction proceedings, and we therefore deny relief without prejudice as to Jerami’s right to pursue this claim during postconviction proceedings. See Braggs, 121 So. 3d at 273 (¶11). Accordingly, we affirm the trial court’s judgment

 

Kevin McKeown v. Elizabeth Allison Estesvisitation – Allison was awarded sole custody of her son by a New  York court in  2012.  She later moved to Oxford, Mississippi after first  obtaining leave from the court.   The New York  court entered a visitation order that gave Kevin  “eight uninterrupted weeks” of summer visitation. Kevin was to provide notice regarding their son’s  travel arrangements.  And if either parent traveled with the child, he  was to provide the other with an itinerary for the trip, including contact information and the location where the child would be staying. If Kevin did not have his own residence, he had to provide Allison with “an affidavit from the legal resident of the home where [the child] shall be staying indicating [the legal resident’s] willingness and availability” to have Kevin and his son as guests. In 2014, Allison filed a complaint in chancery court. She claimed that Kevin was in contempt of the New York visitation order because he would not give her an itinerary for his visitation or an affidavit from the resident where he and the child would be staying during visitation. Allison also requested modification of the visitation order so that Kevin would be required to inform her of his physical address by giving her “a copy of his valid driver[’]s license . . . prior to exercising any visitation.”  Kevin proved to be hard to track down but in June 2015, Kevin sent a letter directly to the chancellor.  The chancellor  found Kevin in contempt for his failure to fulfill the notice, itinerary, and address-disclosure requirements of the New York visitation order. The chancellor further held that Kevin’s visitation would be suspended until he disclosed his physical address. The chancellor also  modified the visitation order so that Kevin would have to exercise his visitation in Mississippi if he did not fulfill the notice, itinerary, and address-disclosure conditions of his visitation.  Kevin appeals.  The COA affirms.

Patrick Evans Clark  v. State of Mississippi – capital murder – Clark was convicted of capital murder in killing his on-again off-again girlfriend Charlene Wren. On appeal he raises a slew of issues.  The COA affirms.

Rebecca Anderson v. Pascagoula School Districtservice of process – Anderson sued the Pascagoula School District pursuant to the Tort Claims Act after she was terminated from her job.  The issue here is service of process.  The process server left the summons and complaint with a receptionist  at the PSD’s Central Office telling the receptionist  that the documents were intended for Mr. Rodolfich.  The School District filed a motion to dismiss arguing that service was improper and that there were only three people designated by the School District to accept service.  The trial court dismissed the lawsuit and Anderson appealed. The COA affirms.

James Gandy v. State –  right to transcript – In  1985, Gandy was convicted in  Jones County of kidnapping and sentenced as a habitual offender to life.  Several days later he escaped from jail.  The circuit court granted the state’s motion to dismiss his appeal. In  2013, Gandy filed a motion for postconviction relief  claiming he received an illegal sentence. The circuit court dismissed Gandy’s PCR motion as time-barred, and Gandy appealed. In Gandy v. State, 197 So. 3d 427, 429 (¶11) (Miss. Ct. App. 2015), this Court affirmed finding that, although an illegal sentence is an exception to the time-bar, Gandy’s sentence was not illegal. Thereafter  Gandy filed a motion for an order to show cause  claiming he was entitled to a copy of his trial transcript and sentencing hearing. In the alternative, he claimed that he received an illegal sentence. The circuit court denied Gandy’s motion, finding Gandy abandoned his appeal when he escaped from jail, and noted that, due to the dismissal of Gandy’s appeal, no trial transcript existed.  Gandy appeals. The COA dismisses his appeal.

In his only issue on appeal, Gandy claims he is entitled to a trial transcript. However, Gandy filed this request as an independent action in the circuit court through a motion to show cause. A prisoner does not have “the right to institute an independent, original action for a free transcript or other documents, and then if dissatisfied with the [circuit court’s] ruling, to directly appeal that ruling to this court as a separate and independent action.”

 

Pro se PCR appeals affirmed:

Stephanie Fields v. State of Mississippi

Nicholas Desmond Mays v. State of Mississippi

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