Decisions – Miss.S.Ct. – March 16, 2017

David Jackson v. State of Mississippi –  motion for records – David Jackson was convicted of possession of cocaine and intent to distribute.  On appeal, his conviction was affirmed.  He then filed a motion in the Madison County Circuit Court asking for records and transcripts in the trial court.   The trial court denied the motion on the basis that Jackson was not entitled to discovery. Jackson appealed  and the Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction. On cert., the Miss. S. Ct. holds that the trial court should have dismissed Jackson’s motion for records and transcripts for want of jurisdiction rather than denying it on the merits and the Court of Appeals should have affirmed the trial court’s dismissal on that basis.

Tameshia Shelton  v.  State of Mississippi –  two-theory instruction – Shelton was convicted of murdering her sister’s boyfriend.  The sister, Ketina Tutton, and her boyfriend, Daniel Young, sometimes spent  the night at Shelton’s.   One night, Tutton told Young that she was no longer planning to relocate to Meridian in the immediate future to be closer to Young because of her job.  They argued.   Tutton walked toward  her mother’s house and Young walked toward Shelton’s house.  Shelton alleged that she heard a knock on her bedroom window and that it was  Young asking  her for her pistol in order to shoot a raccoon out of a tree. Young left and Shelton heard one shot.  She found  Young laying in the grass.   Law enforcement did not believe that Young accidentally shot himself.  They noticed evidence of a scuffle near Young’s body. A gunshot residue test showed particles  on Shelton’s  palms and the back of her right hand and on her  pajamas. On appeal. Shelton argues weight  and sufficiency of the evidence.  She also argues that the court should have given the jury a two-theory instruction. “A two-theory instruction instructs the jury what to do when the ‘record supports two or more hypotheses of the crime committed’ and all the evidence of the crime is circumstantial.”

We find that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying the requested twotheory instruction since two other jury instructions fairly instructed the jury as to the law. Further, it is not necessary for us to determine whether the evidence against Shelton was completely circumstantial because a trial court, under McInnis, may refuse a two-theory instruction—even where all of the evidence is circumstantial—if it has given a circumstantial evidence instruction as the trial court did here.

 

Wayne County School District v. J. Ed Morgan, in his Official Capacity as the Commissioner of Revenue of the Mississippi Department of Revenue –  interest on erroneously collected taxes – In Jones County School District v. Mississippi Department of Revenue, 111 So. 3d 588 (Miss. 2013), the court held that  a school district was not liable for oil and gas severance taxes on royalties derived from oil and gas production on sixteenth-section land.  After that decision, the Chancery Court of Wayne County held that Wayne County School District  was owed interest by the Mississippi Department of Revenue on its overpayment of severance taxes at the rate of one percent per month starting on June 5, 2013, ninety days after the Court’s ruling in Jones County.  MDOR appeals. The Miss.S.Ct. affirms.

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