Decisions – MSSC – 4/25/2019

Hand down list

Ceola James v. Latrice Westbrookselection contest – When Latrice Westbrooks defeated incumbent Ceola James for a position on the Court of Appeals, James filed an election contest claiming that Westbrooks had  improperly affiliated with the Democratic Party and improperly aligned herself with a political candidate, Representative Bennie Thompson.   Westbrooks filed a motion for summary judgment. At the hearing on Westbrooks’s motion, the trial court found that James had failed to submit any proof to support her allegations. The MSSC affirms.

Freddie Doug Burrell v. State of Mississippi  –  pcr – Burrell’s conviction of sale or transfer of cocaine  within fifteen hundred feet of a school as a habitual offender and
sentence of life imprisonment were affirmed on direct appeal in 1998.  This is his sixth PCR petition.  The Court finds that is it barred by the three year statute of limitations as well as the fact that it is a successor petition.  It also deems the petition frivolous and warns that future filings could incur sanctions.

Marquan D. Stover v. Elaine G. Davis, Executrix of the Estate of Tamora G. Robinson, Deceasedwill contest/undue influence – Tamora Robinson died on October 11, 2013, at the age of eighty-nine. She had no children,  and her husband predeceased her. Before her death, Robinson executed a last will and testament in 1993,  a first codicil, signed in 2000, and a second codicil, signed in  2013.  The chancery court admitted Robinson’s will and the two codicils to probate and issued letters testamentary to Davis.  Robinson’s great nephew contested the second codicil on the grounds that it was procured by undue influence exercised by Robinson’s sister Elaine Davis. In 2006 Robinson was diagnosed with dementia and she suffered a stroke in 2013.  The chancellor found against Stover.   On appeal the COA affirmed.  The MSSC granted cert and reverses and remands the case for further factfinding. “[T]he chancellor made no findings on whether a
confidential relationship had existed between Robinson and Davis or whether a presumption of undue influence arose.”

Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance v. Judge Jesse Burtonjudicial performance – In  July of  2017, Jesse Burton—a justice court judge in Coahoma County—filed an affidavit claiming his former girlfriend had stolen money and
personal property from him. Based on this affidavit, another justice court judge issued an arrest warrant for Judge Burton’s girlfriend, Regina Burt. But before the warrant was served, Judge Burton changed his mind and instructed the clerk’s office to rescind the warrant.  Burt complained to the Judicial Performance Commission which filed a formal complaint against Burton.  Judge Burton  cooperated and entered an agreed stipulation of facts with the Commission. The parties’ agreement included the Commission’s recommended sanction of a public reprimand and $500 fine. After review,
this Court agrees with the Commission’s findings and recommended sanction.




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