Decisions – COA – Sept. 5, 2017

John Gale  v. State of Mississippi cautionary instruction re informants – John Gale was convicted of the sale of less than two grams of methamphetamine to a confidential informant and sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment. The jury acquitted Gale of two other drug sale counts relating to a morphine pill and a Xanax pill he was alleged to have sold at the same time. On appeal, Gale contends that the jury should have received a cautionary instruction on the testimony of confidential informants although he essentially concedes that the Mississippi Supreme Court has held that such an instruction is properly refused if the details of the informant’s pay arrangement are disclosed to the jury and the informant is subject to cross-examination. , and that the verdict was against the overwhelming weight of the evidence.  The COA affirms.


Rodney N. Robinson  v. State of Mississippisufficiency of the evidence – Robinson was convicted of  burglary of an occupied dwelling under circumstances likely to terrorize the occupant.  The charges arose after three men broke into a home in Eupora with the homeowner at home  and stole some guns. On appeal he argues that the verdict was against the weight of the evidence. The COA affirms.

Rodney Carter  v. State of Mississippi necessity defense –  Carter was charged for felony evasion and possession of a firearm by a felon after officers tried to stop him because his license plate was not lighted.  Carter led officers on a high speed chase.  At trial, Carter tried to fire his appointed counsel but the court ordered the lawyer to assist.  Carter was convicted of felony evasion but acquitted of felon in possession.  ON appeal he argues that the verdict was against the weight of the evidence.  This issue is seldom a winner and it’s no different here.  He also argues that the judge should have given the jury a peremptory instruction on his necessity defense.  Carter’s wife testified he was having an asthma attack  but she also testified  that she did not know why he did not stop for law
enforcement and did not know where Carter was going. And when medical
personnel examined Carter at the scene of the arrest,  he did not require additional
treatment at a hospital. The COA affirms.

Troylanden Cortez Harris  v. State of Mississippifailure of instruction to properly define attempt –  Troylanden Harris was found guilty of attempted armed carjacking.  He was tried in absentia. On appeal he raises several issues including the trial court’s failure to give the jury an instruction properly defining attempt since the instruction did not mention the failure or prevention of completion of the offense.  While Harris did not raise this issue at trial, on appeal the Court finds the omission to be plain error and reverses.

Ricky E. Roberson  v. State of Mississippi harmless error –  Roberson was the girls softball coach at Clarksdale High School. One of the players accused him of touching her inappropriately.   He was charged with eight count involving  three victims. He was  convicted of three county of child exploitation. On appeal he raises ten issues.  The COA finds error with three: (1) the introduction of a witness’s prior consistent statement, and (2) the introduction of opinion testimony as to the veracity of witness testimony, and
testimony that Roberson had fathered the child of a highschool student and that the child was put up for adoption.  The COA, however, finds these harmless in light of the evidence and affirms.

Matthew Ladner v. Zachry Construction and Zurich American Insurance Company –  workers comp – The COA denies rehearing but substitutes its opinion – In December 2006, Ladner injured his lower back while working for Zachry. He returned to work a few days after the incident, but continued to experience pain. In  May  2008, his doctor  concluded Ladner met his maximum medical  improvement and  assessed Ladner with a five-percent impairment to his body as a whole and issued permanent work restrictions.  Ladner continued to work for Zachry until he was laid off.  He then got a job at the Stennis Space Center. The Commission ruled that Ladner  failed to prove a loss of wage-earning capacity to sustain a claim for permanent-partial disability and failed to demonstrate his termination from Zachry and his period of unemployment were causally related to his on-the-job injury.  The COA reverses.

The substantial evidence demonstrated that Ladner proved a work-related injury, he suffered a loss of wage-earning capacity resulting in permanent-partial disability, and the injury related to his disability. Further, Zachry failed to rebut Ladner’s prima facie case of disability. For these reasons, we reverse the Commission’s order. We further render the case and reinstate the order of the AJ awarding Ladner $128.01 per week for 450 weeks and medical-treatment expenses.

 

Teiawan Cox v. SMG and Capital City Convention Center Commission d/b/a Jackson Convention Center Complex – service of process –  In 2013, Teiawan Cox filed a personal injury lawsuit against SMG and the Capital City Convention Center Commission, alleging that she was injured as a result of an unsafe condition at the Jackson Convention Center Complex. She did not serve process.  A year and a half later she  filed a motion for an extension of time to serve process.  She then filed an amended complaint and served SMG and the Convention Center.   SMG and the Convention Center filed answers on
September 3, 2015.   On October 30, 2015, they filed motions to amend their answers to raise that defense.  The trial court eventually entered an order denying the motion for an extension of time to serve process, found the motions for leave to amend moot,  and dismissed the case without prejudice.  On appeal, Cox contends that SMG and the Convention Center waived the defense of insufficiency of process by failing to assert it in their answer. The COA agrees and reverses.

Pro Se PCR Appeals affirmed:

Carol Dearman  v. State of Mississippi

Anthony Earl Lovern  v. State of Mississippi

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