Decisions – COA – 4/2/2019

Hand down list

Michael Guss, Jr. v. State of Mississippi –  drug trafficking – In December of  2015, Postal Inspector Dominick Riley was working at the United States Postal Inspection Service Center in Jackson when he  noticed a suspicious express mail package.   After a drug dog alerted him about the package, Inspector Riley applied for and obtained a search warrant and found that the package contained about a pound and a half of methamphetamine.   The next day, Inspector Riley delivered the package to Guss, who was sitting on the porch of the apartment residence. Guss was arrested.  A search warrant was obtained  for his residence. Agents  found the unopened United States Postal Service (USPS) package near the front door, a cell phone, and about one gram of marijuana in the front bedroom. The cell phone showed that the UPS package was being tracked. There were also  text messages between Guss and other individuals regarding drug transactions.  The renter of the apartment Guss was using told agents that she had given Guss permission to  use her address two or three times before to receive other packages. Guss was convicted. On appeal he challenges the weight of the evidence. The COA affirms.

Caryl S. Ulrich v. Public Employees’ Retirement Systemdisability – Caryl Ulrich applied for duty-related disability benefits from PERS in  2015. She  claimed to have been injured
from an electrical shock while working at Pascagoula High School. The PERS Medical
Board denied her claim for disability benefits finding insufficient objective medical evidence to support her claim that her condition prevented her from teaching.  The decision was affirmed by both the PERS Disability Appeals Committee and the Hinds County Circuit Court. The COA affirms.

Jalen Shaquille Williams v. State of Mississippi –  cross-examination/ character witnesses –  Williams and Rashad Johnson decided they were going to rob  Lamont Hayes who had made the mistake of flashing one-hundred dollar bills at a dice game a few weeks previously. They entered Hayes’ home with guns.   Williams and  Hayes tussled and  Johnson fired two shots at Hayes who later died.  Johnson pleaded guilty and testified against Williams who was convicted of capital murder.  On appeal Williams argues that the trial court erred in not letting him cross-examine Justin Atkinson (who testified how Williams and Johnson prepared for the robbery) about what sentence Atkinson could have received on another charge had he not cooperated with the district attorney and testified in this case and (2) whether the trial court erred in not allowing Williams to call character witnesses. As for the cross examination, there was plenty of testimony about what Atkinson got and what he could have gotten and the denial of further cross-examination as to a possible enhanced sentence (about which Atkinson said he knew nothing) would have added nothing.  As for the character witnesses, Williams failed to make a proffer. The COA affirms.

William Grady v. State of Mississippifelon in possession/Lindsey brief –  Grady was  convicted  of possession of a weapon by a convicted felon.   The Office of State Public Defender, Indigent Appeals Division, filed a Lindsey brief certifying that there are no arguable claims to be raised on appeal. Grady was allowed to file his own brief and did not. The COA finds no reversible error and affirms.

Beverly Knight and Keith Knight v. W. Craig Clark M.D. –  medical malpractice – In 2006, Beverly Knight began experiencing lower back pain. Neurosurgeon Craig Clark recommended a transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF). After her surgery, she continued to complain of pain.   In October 2008, Knight moved to Tennessee and began seeing new doctors.  In December 2009, she underwent an MRI, which showed that one of the pedicle screws was angled into or near the spinal canal, although the written MRI report specifically noted that there was no apparent nerve root impingement at the L5-S1 level.  She sued Craig and a jury returned a defense verdict. On appeal she argues that she deserved a JNOV or new trial.  She also argues that  the trial judge abused its  discretion by ruling that Dr. Whaley a radiologist and neuroradiologist, could not testify as to the standard of care for a neurosurgeon and could not testify that Dr. Clark had breached the standard of care. Dr. Whaley was allowed to testify as an expert in the field of neuroradiology and offer opinions regarding Knight’s fluoroscopy images and subsequent x-rays. The COA affirms.

Victor W. Carmody Jr. and Victor W. Carmody III v. Erin Christa Garnettreplevin/contempt –  The Carmodys  filed a complaint against Erin Christa Garnett  in the Madison County County Court for replevin of personal property. After mediation, they reached a settlement.   The Carmodys ended up filing a motion to enforce the settlement and for contempt.  The county court held a hearing and granted the Carmodys’ motion to enforce the settlement agreement. However, the court denied the Carmodys’ motion to hold Christa in contempt finding her testimony that she did not have some of the items credible. The Carmodys appealed and the COA affirms.

Pro se PCR appeals affirmed:

Loranzy Jenkins v. State of Mississippi

Keith Ladale Porter v. State of Mississippi

Joe O’Neal v. State of Mississippi

 

 

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