Decisions – COA – March 28, 2017

Randall Cooper, Jr. v. State of Mississippi –  jury instructions in murder case – Four people left a party.  One of them, Virgil Harris, started acting crazy and threatened to kill everyone in the car.  He eventually asked to be let out whereupon he called everyone in the car a bitch. Thereupon,   Randall Cooper leaned over and shot Harris.  The jury was instructed on first-degree murder, second-degree murder, heat-of-passion manslaughter, and self-defense.  They convicted Cooper of murder. On appeal Cooper argues the evidence was insufficient.  He also has problems with the instructions. Cooper had asked for an instruction that started out  “you are not to judge the actions of Randall Cooper, Jr., in the cool, calm light of after-developed facts, but instead you are to judge his actions in the light of the circumstances confronting Randall Cooper, Jr., at the time, as you believe . . . .”   This instruction is almost identical to an instruction the Court held should have been given in  Maye v. State, 49 So. 3d 1124, 1131-32  (Miss. 2010).  The COA notes that in Crook v. State, 105 So. 3d 353, 358  (Miss.  App. 2012), the  COA  later stated that the instruction did not have to be given in every self defense case noting that the facts in Maye were very unusual.    The court finds it was not error to not give this instruction.  Nor was it error to give the three instructions the state requested and about which Cooper now complains.  For one thing, Cooper did not object at trial.

Tiffany Griffin v. Grenada Youth League – premises liability – In April  2012,  Griffin attended a charity baseball tournament held at fields owned and maintained by the Grenada Youth League,  a nonprofit corporation.  As she walked down a grassy hill from the parking lot, she  fell and broke her ankle. Griffin sued GYL on a premises liability claiming  she stepped into a one-inch-deep “hole” that was obscured by grass that was three or four inches high.  GYL denied that there was a “hole.”  The court  granted summary judgment for GYL. In doing so, the court acknowledged that there is a “dispute over whether there actually was a hole,” but the court ruled “that as a matter of law the premises was reasonably safe and there was no dangerous condition or peril that required a warning.” The COA affirms.


Terrell Patrick Corvette Hopper  v. State of Mississippi –  ineffective assistance of counsel –  Hopper was convicted in two separate trials of aggravated assault and aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer  in 2003 in Coahoma County.  He was recently granted an out of time appeal on both and they were consolidated for appeal.  He argues that his attorney was ineffective in various ways: for failing to request an accident instruction, failure to ask that his case be severed from that of his codefendant; failure to object to evidence; failure to move for a change of venue, etc.  The COA affirms.

Emma R. Doss, Clarence E. Scutter, Henry Lee Claiborne, Gloria Edwards, Robert Edwards, Margie H. January, Mary Walls, Beatrice B. Mathis, Arthur Lee Camphor, Eddie Duffin, Helen Duffin, Sadie Appleton, J.Gilbert Buck, Dr. Mildred L. Holland, and Elmo McBride Jr. v. Claiborne County Board of Supervisors: Allen Burks, Charlie Norrells, Edwin Smith, Ronald Shoulders, and Daniel Porter; The Mississippi State Tax Commission; and Jim Hood, Attorney General of The State of Mississippi – taxpayer complaint – In 2009,  15 Claiborne County property owners sued the Claiborne County Board of Supervisors,  the Mississippi State Tax Commission, and the Mississippi Attorney General claiming that they conspired to enact or comply with racially discriminatory legislation that prevents the county from collecting traditional ad valorem taxes from Grand Gulf Nuclear Station. Doss sought a declaratory judgment that the statute is unconstitutional, injunctive relief, and damages. The Claiborne County Circuit Court dismissed Doss’s complaint.  The COA affirms. Taxpayers are not  injured merely because a statute excuses the tax obligations of others.  Therefore, the plaintiffs lack standing to complain that, by statute, Grand Gulf is not subject to traditional ad valorem taxes.

Graham Read Irby, a Minor, By and Through Karen Collins, Mother and Next Friend v. Sudhakar Madakasira, M.D. and Psycamore, LLC – wrongful death –  Stuart Irby was being treated by psychiatrist  Sudhakar Madakasira for various condictions including bipolar disorder, anger management, and alcohol abuse. On February 11, 2009, Irby and his wife, Karen  Collins, were involved in a car accident. Irby suffered a severe, traumatic frontal-lobe brain injury.  He continued seeing Dr. Madakasira for his brain injury. Irby was deemed incapable of conducting his own business affairs.  A conservatorship was filed and coconservators were appointed.  The conservators petitioned the  court for authority to file a divorce complaint on Irby’s behalf against Collins. The petition was granted.  In support of the divorce complaint, the conservators attached an affidavit executed by Dr. Madakasira in which it was stated that Irby had told Dr. Madakasira that he was unsure if he wanted a divorce from Collins. However, Dr. Madakasira swore in his affidavit that due to the brain injury, Irby was not capable of making a decision in his or Graham’s best interest regarding the divorce. Dr. Madakasira opined that a divorce was in Irby’s best interest and that it would be detrimental to Irby’s health to  remain married to Collins. Irby testified he did not want a divorce but the  divorce was granted.  On January 17, 2012, Irby told Collins over the phone that he was forced into the divorce and had no reason to live. Irby committed suicide at his home later that day. On December 16, 2013, Collins sent Dr. Madakasira a notice of intent to commence a medical-malpractice action based on wrongful death.  On March 17, 2014, she filed a lawsuit alleging that Dr. Madakasira  negligently caused Irby’s death by suicide.  The case was dismissed based on the one year statute of limitations because Irby’s complaint  alleged that “[a]s a direct and proximate result of the intentional acts of Dr. Madakasira in assisting the conservators in the prosecution of the divorce action and the granting of a divorce by the Chancery Court[,] Stuart M. Irby developed an irresistible impulse to commit suicide.”  Intentional acts are subject to a one year SOL.  The COA affirms.


Pro se PCR appeals affirmed:

Bruce Calvin McCoy  v. State of Mississippi

Timothy T. Hobson  v. State of Mississippi

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