Decisions – Miss.S.Ct. – Sept. 14, 2017

Jafron Roberts v. State of Mississippi –  suppression/right to victim’s medical records – Roberts was convicted of kidnapping and statutory rape of a thirteen year old who had been walking to school in Meridian Mississippi.  He drove her to an abandoned house where he pared her.  He later dropped her off near where he had abducted her. The smart kid left her underwear at the abandoned house to prove she had been there.  Roberts was easily identified as her attacker because of the distinctive tattoos on his arm.  Roberts  eventually admitted he had picked the girl up but maintained the sex was consensual. On appeal Roberts argue st hat his confession should have been suppressed (he claimed he had requested an attorney). He also claims he should have been able to examine the child’s medical records from a hospital visit the night before the kidnapping because they might show she had been sexually active prior to the kidnapping.  He also complains that he told police he had an alibi and that law enforcement had a duty to obtain  any video that would have supported his alibi. The Court affirms.

 

Nicholas Johnson  v. State of Mississippisufficiency of the evidence – Johnson was convicted of breaking into the home of   72-year-old Betty Kate Lee and robbing her.  He had been wearing a bandana over his face but he was caught on surveillance tape.  On appeal he argues that the evidence was insufficient. The Court affirms.

Lacy Dodd and Charles Dodd v. Dr. Randall Hines, Mississippi Reproductive Medicine, PLLC and Dr. Paul Seago – medical malpractice/informed consent – In 2011 Lacy consulted with fertility specialist Dr.  Hines.  He recommended she have an ovarioan cyst or cysts removed.  Lacy signed a release stating, in part, “I further consent and authorize the performance of such additional surgeries and procedures (whether or not arising from presently unforeseen conditions) considered necessary or emergent in the judgment of my doctor or those of the hospital’s medical staff who serve me.”  Hines operated, saw that the ovaries appeared cancerous, consulted with Dr Seago ( a specialist in gynecological cancers)  and removed them.  A subsequent biopsy showed that  they were not cancerous but suffered from  non-cancerous, serous cystadenofibroma (Serous cystadenofibroma is a condition in which a benign tumor appears cancerous).  Lacy sued.  The trial court granted summary judgment for the defendants based on the release  Lacy signed. The COA reverses.  The Miss.S.Ct. grants cert. and affirms the COA for different reasons.   “[W]e hold that there is a genuine issue of material fact  precluding summary judgment as to whether Lacy consented to the removal of her
ovaries.”

 

 

Joseph Patrick Brown  v. State of Mississippidiscovery in death penalty post conviction case – Brown was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death in 1994.  His case was affirmed and while he was later granted a hearing on a pcr motion, the trial court’s denial of relief on that motion was affirmed. Now Brown has filed a motion stating he desires to file another pcr and asks permission to have the trial court take jurisdiction and allow Brown to conduct discovery.   The motion is silimar to a motion Brown had filed before which the Court denied because Brown had not made even a minimal showing of any need for pre-petition discovery.

 

Arlin George Hatfield, III v. Deer Haven Homeowners Association, Inc. –  violation of restrictive covenant/disrespectful language in brief/attorneys fees on appeal  –  In  2013, the Deer Haven Owners Association filed a Complaint over homeowner Hatfield’s having violated the subdivision’s  restrictive covenants by erecting pens for various fowl. The Association sought an injunction and attorney fees. The chancellor granted the motion and awarded the Association $50,250 in attorney fees. Hatfield appeals pro se and spends a large portion of his brief arguing that everyone violated ethical rules.  The HOA moved to strike Hatfield’s brief and asks for attorneys fees in the amount of $25,125 (half of the fees at trial) on appeal. The S.Ct. affirms the attorneys fees below, rules that Hatfield’s brief is stricken, and awards the additional fees for the appeal.

While allowing attorney fees on appeal in an amount equal to one-half of the fees allowed by the trial court may not be fair and equitable in all cases, we find doing so here to be appropriate. We think the better practice, however, would be for the party seeking attorney fees on appeal to file a motion in this Court, supported by
affidavits and time records that establish the actual fees expended on appeal.

 

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