Decisions – COA – 4/24/2018

Hand down list

Darius Santwain Jones  v. State of Mississippifelon in possession stipulation –  Jones was convicted of possession of  a firearm as a convicted felon.  He had also been charged with possession of methamphetamine but was acquitted on that charge.  Officers had responded to a call about a large crowd gathered at a Meridian  apartment complex.  Jones was standing by his car. An officer noted a large caliber handgun on the driver’s seat.  The officer asked for permission to secure the gun.  Jones denied owning the gun but, according to the officer, gave him permission.  Once in the car the officer smelled marijuana and asked to search the car and, according to the officer, Jones again consented. The officer found some drugs that tested positive for meth.  on appeal Jones takes issue with sufficiency of the evidence and the validity of the the search. The COA finds no reason not to defer to the trial court’s finding that the search was pursuant to Jones’ consent.  Jones also argues that it was error to instruct the jury that the parties stipulated to the fact he was a felon for possession of a firearm by a felon.  He argues that he stipulated to this but it was error to relieve the state of its burden of proof.  He also argues that he was entitled to an instruction limiting the jury’s use of the stipulation. The COA affirms

Takia Mays, Individually, and as Personal Representative of the Estate and Heirs-At-Law and/or Wrongful Death Beneficiaries of Rosalyn Packer, Deceased v. Shoemaker Property Management, LLC and Caroline Development, LLC –  premises liability/fire – In 2012, Rosalyn Packer was staying at her sister’s apartment in Hattiesburng when there was a fire and Packer died. Her estate sued the apartment complex even though the fire was attributed the fire to either the stove or “other  human involvement.”   The trial curt granted summary judgment for the apartment complex when the plaintiff failed to come forward with an expert linking the fire to any negligence on the apartment’s part.  The COA affirms.

James Burke  v. State of MississippiDUI –  Burke was convicted of DUI after he was involved in a one vehicle accident that resulted in his truck  burning.  Two good samaritans helped him out of his truck.  They could smell alcohol on him.  Burke told an officer that he was coming from a bar. He also admitted he had a prior drug and alcohol problem and relapsed and had one beer. He refused blood testing.   On appeal he argues that it was error for the police to repeat what they had been told by the good samaritans including that they had seen his truck weaving before it crashed. It was hearsay and violated his right to confrontation. He also argues that it was error to disallow his expert toxicologist, Dr. Valentine, from testifying about concussions. The COA affirms.

George Huey v. RGIS Inventory Specialists and Fidelity & Guaranty Insurance Companyworkers compensation –  Huey was injured while driving his employer’s van to Tennessee to conduct an inventory audit. He was denied benefits because the Commission determined that the accident was caused by an incident of road rage and thereby departed from the scope and course of his employment.  The COA affirmed. Huey then filed suit against the 18 wheeler that rear ended him.  It was then he learne dthat the van he was driving had a black box and it showed that Huey was not stopped at the time he was hit.  He moved to reopen the workers comp. case. The Aj allowed it but the Commission reversed. On appeal the COA affirms finding that the claim was filed more than a year after the claim was denied (here, more that a year after the mandate was issued).  Furthermore, the “new evidence” would change nothing.

Only Al-Khidhr v. Ronald King, Superintendent, and Central Mississippi Correctional Facility –  credit for time before trial –   Al-Khidhr was indicted for  unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in May 2012.  A year later he was indicted for  possession of a controlled substance. He pleaded guilty was was sentenced to consecutive sentences of five years on the firearm charge and four years on the drug-possession charge. He was given credit for time served –  613 days. He argues that the 613 days of pre-trial confinement  should have been doubled to apply to both of his
charges.  MDOC denied his request for administrative review.  Teh circuit court dismissed his petition. On appeal, the COA affirms.


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