Decisions – MSSCT – 7/18/2019

Hand down list

Bobby Osbourne v. State of Mississippinot ineffective to fail to perfect appeal if no reversible error at trial – Osbourne was found guilty of aggravated assault for shooting John McCarver and sentenced to ten years.  The shooting occurred as a result of a road rage altercation after McCarver’s wife passed Osbourne’s van on I-55 near Coldwater.  Osbourne followed the McCarvers to a gas station. John McCarver took Osbourne’s keys and told him he had to wait for the police whereupon Osbourne shot him.  The trial took place on June 26, 2017.  The trial court held a sentencing hearing on July 12, 2017.  Osbourne was sentenced on  August 9, 2017.   On November 3, 2017, trial counsel filed a notice of appeal and a motion for leave to appeal in forma pauperis.  The trial court denied the motion, because Osbourne’s notice of appeal was not timely filed, and no motion for an out-of-time appeal had been filed.  On November 8, 2017, trial counsel filed a notice of appeal.  On appeal hje argues that his trial counsel was ineffective in failing to perfect his appeal. The MSSCT affirms finding that even if ineffective, Osbourne can show no prejudice, i.e., that there was error at trial that would have required reversal.

Green Hills Development Company, LLC v. The Secretary of State of the State of Mississippi, Delbert Hosemann, in his Official Capacity, UMB Bank, N.A., Stonebridge Holdings I, LLC, Stonebridge Holdings II, LLC, Stonebridge Holdings III, LLC, Rankin County Tax Collector, Judy Fortenberry, in her Official Capacity, Rankin County Tax Assessor, John A. Sullivan, in his Official Capacity, The Rankin County Board of Supervisors, Rankin County Chancery Clerk, Larry Swales, in his Official Capacity, Kenneth Paul Bradley, Jrtax sale/validity of land patents – Green Hills was the developer and significant owner of a multi-use development in Rankin County called Stonebridge. It financed the development by issuing bonds.  Green Hills failed to pay  the special assessments levied on 106 parcels in Stonebridge and did not redeem within the two-year period.  Five years later, the State sold the property, following the statutory procedure under which the Secretary of State accepts written applications to purchase and, if an application is approved, issues a land patent.  After learning of the sale, Green Hills sued the Secretary of State and the purchasers to have the land patents set aside.  On appeal Green Hills argues that it was entitled to notice but the MSSCT finds that it got all the notice is was required to have.  But the MSSCT reverses the ruling that Green Hills lacked standing to challenge the validity of the land patents and that the land patents were “in all respects . . . valid and proper.” 

Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance v. Judge Frank Sutton  – judicial misconduct of justice court judge – The Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance recommended that the Court publicly reprimand and assess a $500 fine against Judge Frank Sutton, a justice court judge in Hinds County.  The MSSCT agrees that Sutton is guilty of misconduct but orders a public reprimand, a fine of  $500 and suspension of  thirty days without pay.   The misconduct consisted of the following:  In January of 2018, Amanda Howard with charged with prostitution. Michael Liddell approached Judge Sutton in court and asked Judge Sutton if he could help Liddell with the charges pending against Howard.  That afternoon, Judge Sutton called  the investigator and asked him if he could “help him out” on the prostitution charge against Howard because he knew her family. The investigator declined. That same day Judge Sutton, sua sponte and without a hearing, remanded Howard’s prostitution charge to the file, subject to recall. In June of  2018, Sutton called an investigator about marijuana charges filed against Barry Jones, a parishioner at Fairfield Missionary Baptist Church where Judge Sutton serves as pastor.  There is no record as to what Sutton did other than inquire about the charges. 

Pro se PCR applications denied:

Artis Power v. State of Mississippi

Johnny Ray Simms v. State

The MSSCT grants cert. in Dante O. Taylor v. State of Mississippi (the link is to the COA opinion). He argues that the trial court was in error in granting a pre-arming instruction and in refusing two instructions embodying his self defense instruction.

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