Decisions – COA – 8/14/2018

Hand down list

Camara Johnson v. State of Mississippisuffiency of the evidence/murder  – Camara Johnson, Cordale McCarty, and Marquis McKinney were  indicted in the murder of  Ervin Simmons and aggravated assault of Trasharria Mitchell.  month prior to the shooting Simmons banned the three from his nightclub.  When Simmons was in the process of locking the club up one night he was ambushed and shot. McCarty confessed and ratted out Johnson and McKinney. He later recanted his confession and then entered into a plea bargain wherein he recanted the recantation and and testified at Johnson’s trial. On appeal Johnson argues that the verdict was against the weight of the evidence given that it rested in large part of the testimony of McCarty who kept changing his story. The COA affirms finding that the jury was told to view McCarty’s testimony with caution inasmuch as he was an accomplish.  The testimony of a codefendant needs only slight corroboration to sustain a conviction and there was sufficient evidence here.

Andrew C. Cruse, Jr.  v. State of Mississippi –  denial of attorney’s motion to withdraw – Andrew Clinton Cruse Jr. was convicted  as a violent habitual offender for the  kidnapping, aggravated assault,forcible sexual intercourse, and sexual battery of Tina Ivy who came running out of the woods into the parking lot of a Lowe’s in Gulfport in February of 2015. At trial Cruise testified that he had consensual sex with Ivy and that her injuries were inflicted by Ivy’s boyfriend. On appeal he argues that the trial judge erred in refusing to allow his attorney to withdraw after Cruse filed complaints against him. Cruse had filed similar complaints against his previous attorney.  The trial judge denied the attorney’s motion to withdraw reasoning that Cruse would file complaints against his next attorney. He also challenges the sufficiency of the evidence. The COA affirms.

Ernest T. Jones v. Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning, Alcorn State University, Darren J. Hamilton, Ph.D., Individually and In His Official Capacity, and George E. Ross, Ph.D., Individually and In His Official Capacity –  breach of contract with university –  In 2007 Jones accepted the position of head football coach at Alcorn with a four year contract at $140,000 per year.  He immediately encountered problems.  When all but two of his assistant coaches were fired over his objection, Jones filed suit in December 2008. Alcorn then fired him. The jury returned a verdict of $500,000.00 in favor of Jones.  The circuit court granted the Defendant’s motion for jnov finding that Jones failed to present legally sufficient evidence that the defendants breached the contract. Jones appealed. The COA reverses and remands.

We reverse and remand. First, we hold that Jones has a viable claim for breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. However, that claim is subject to the MTCA. Because Jones did not satisfy the MTCA’s pre-suit notice requirement, the claim must be dismissed without prejudice. Jones may refile the claim, but it must be decided by the circuit judge “without a jury,” as required by the MTCA. Miss. Code Ann. § 11-46-13(1) (Rev. 2012). Second, we hold that Jones should have been allowed to pursue a claim that Alcorn breached his contract by firing him without cause. Third, we reverse the dismissal of Jones’s claim against Hamilton based on our Supreme Court’s recent decision in Springer v. Ausbern Construction Co., 231 So. 3d 980, 988-89 (¶¶32-35) (Miss. 2017), which held that the MTCA does not apply to such a claim.

Brenda Harness Thornton v. Timothy Terrell Thornton Sr. – division of marital property / notice of appeal where 60((b) motion filed later –   Tim and Brenda Thornton  married in 2000, had two children, and separated in 2014. Brenda filed for divorce a year later. Timothy admitted to adultery. The chancellor granted Brenda the divorce.  On appeal Brenda raises a plethora of issues. The COA reverses and remands because the chancellor failed to make an on-the-record analysis of the Ferguson factors. Since the division of marital property has to be reassessed, the court should also reevaluate whether Brenda is entitled to lump sum alimony.  The opinion also discusses the notice of appeal where a motion for relief under rule 60(b) is filed after the notice of appeal is filed.

Demario Walker  v. Bryan A. Bailey, Jimmy Randolph Spears, James Rutland, Albert Bounds, Mark Thompson, Rankin County Board of Supervisors, Rankin County Jail, Amanda Thompson, Eddie Thompson, George Schwindling and Quality Healthcare – crazy delusional inmate who has filed 100s of crazy delusional lawsuits  –   Demario is this insane stupid conman who commits idiotic crimes like writing fraudulent checks in his own name. He has filed 100s of lawsuits while in prison and in this one he claims, falsely I’m sure, that he was sexually assaulted in the Rankin County jail. The circuit court dismissed this one with prejudice when it realized that Walker had had a ton of cases dismissed for being frivolous.  Walker appealed. The COA affirms but finds that the dismissal should have been without prejudice. (Full disclosure: Demario purchased a car from my father a few years ago when my father was in the early stages of dementia. The check  was for more than $13,000 and it was fraudulent. I contacted everyone I could think of and MDOC got him for violating parole.  That was back when you could e-mail Chris Epps and get stuff done.  The little shit then filed three lawsuits against me and my father (they were never served) and then filed three bar complaints against me. The last one claimed  I had  tried to run him over. The Bar was going to take that one to the committee.   I sent them about twenty pounds of material on Demario’s background and told the Bar I had never actually located Demario and, thus, had never had the opportunity to run him over.) Demario has filed lawsuits in just about every state claiming he’s been denied the right to marry the man of his choice. (He’s never been in most of the states).  If you get bored, just google him. He also has a FB page (and access to a cell phone) but he looks female in that one.

Pro se PCR appeals affirmed:

Armond Rakeem Lewis v. State of Mississippi 

Eric Young  v. State of Mississippi

David Payton  v. State of Mississippi

Tommie Gonzalez Jordan v. State of Mississippi 

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