Decisions – MSSC – 5/30/2019

Hand down list

Larry Knight v. State of MississippiLindsey brief – Larry Knight was convicted of one count of molestation and was sentenced to serve fifteen years.  His appellate counsel filed a brief under Lindsey v. State, 939 So. 2d 743 (Miss. 2005), stating that they searched the record but were unable to find any arguable issues for appellate review.  Knight did not file a brief on his own behalf.  The MSSC reviewed the record and agrees that there is no error and affirms.

Smith Petroleum, Inc. f/k/a Mississippi Oil, Inc. v. Lamar County School District provision in lease requiring permission of lessor to sublease —  The Lamar County Board of Education had some Sixteenth Section Land which it leased to two people who, with approval of the school board, assigned the lease to  Mississippi Oil which later merged with Smith Petroleum.   Smith Petroleum then entered into an exclusive agreement with Busby Outdoor, LLC, to erect and construct an advertising billboard depicted as an “LED Showcase Sign” on 2,945 square feet of the leased property. Busby was to market advertising and to pay Smith Petroleum royalties for the forty-year term.  Busby obtained a sign permit from the city but when the School Board saw the signs being erected it asked that the construction halt and when Smith Petroleum asked for permission to erect the billboards, the School Board denied permission.  Smith Petroleum filed a Bill of Exceptions. The chancellor upheld the School Board’s decisions since the sublease from Smith to Busby required the School Board’s permission which it did not grant.  The MSSC affirms.  

Gerome Moore v. State of Mississippi –  capital murder case involving juvenile must have jury decide between life and life without parole – Moore was convicted of the murder of  Carolyn Temple during the commission of a robbery.  The case was well publicized because Ms. Temple was killed while merely carrying  her friend’s garbage can up the driveway of his Belhaven house. After a sentencing hearing, he was sentenced to life.   Moore was driving the car. One of his two codefendants got back to the car and said that Ms Temple wouldn’t give up her purse “so I blasted the bitch.”  Moore admitted to providing the gun.  On appeal he argues that his confession was taken in violation of his Miranda rights. He also argues that his right to remain silent was violated. The MSSC finds no error but reverses the sentence of life without parole imposed by the trial judge. “Here, the circuit court erred when it denied Moore’s request to have a jury sentence him.  Moore—a juvenile—was convicted of capital murder post-Miller but was denied his request for a jury sentencing.  We vacate Moore’s sentence and remand the case for resentencing before a jury.  The jury will be tasked with determining whether Moore should be sentenced to life imprisonment without parole or life imprisonment with eligibility for parole.  If the jury determines that Moore should be eligible for parole, the trial court shall sentence Moore to life imprisonment with eligibility for parole, notwithstanding the provisions of Mississippi Code Section 47-7-3(1)(e).”

The Court approves a change to the Rules Governing Admission to The Mississippi Bar whereby anyone failing the exam three times in a row must acquire 12 more hours of legal education.

The MSSC  grants certiorari in Derrick Nelson v. State of Mississippi  (the link is to the COA opinion). The COA reversed Nelson’s conviction because of the trial court’s failure to give an imperfect self defense instruction. The state filed a cert. petition which was granted.

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