Decisions – COA – 9/25/2018

Hand down list 

Gregory D. Palmer v. State of Mississippi –  gratification of lust –  Palmer was convicted of gratification of lust involving a teenager, K.S.,  who was best friends with his own daughter, K.P.   One night during a sleepover with K.P., K.S. alleged that Palmer molested her. K.S. snuck of out the house and told her legal guardian what had occurred.  On appeal Palmer alleges that the State failed to prove K.S.’s age and that verdict was against the weight of the evidence. The COA affirms.

Chelsey Ferguson v. Mississippi Department of Public Safetyexpungement and registration as a sex offender – In May of 2011, Ferguson pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor crime of dissemination of sexually oriented material to a minor.  A few years later she filed a petition to expunge her record. The trial court granted the motion.  Thereafter the  Mississippi Department of Public Safety-Criminal Information Center issued an Expunction Resolution Notice to the Warren County Circuit Clerk which stated that the expungement could not be processed because a sex offense was exempt from expungement.  Ferguson’s attorney contacted the attorney  for the Criminal Information Center which ultimately resulted in the Criminal Information Center expunging the  criminal record. The Dep’t of Public Safety, though, refused to relieve her of the obligation to register as a sex offender.  Ferguson then filed a  Complaint for Relief from Duty to Register under Miss. Code Ann. § 45-33-47. The trial court denied relief and she appealed.  The COA reverses and renders. “Our Supreme Court has unequivocally held that ‘Mississippi law on the effect of an expungement . . . relieves [one] from the duty to register that he had before the expungement.’” Stallworth, 160 So. 3d at 1163.

Kenneth Brian Weaver  v. State of Mississippi –  venue/imperfect defense instruction – Kenneth Brian Weaver was convicted of second-degree murder.  In  September of  2015, the body of his girlfriend Sara Lynn Beard was found in a pond.  Eventually Weaver told police that the two of them had been to a casino and when they left, Sara began hitting him and grabbed at the guns that he kept in his truck. Weaver maintained that as he was attempting to retrieve the gun from Sara, it fired, and a bullet struck her in the head. On appeal he argues that the evidence was insufficient and/or that the verdict was against the weight of the evidence based on  the failure to prove venue because she was killed in Neshoba and not Lauderdale. The COA finds that since the body was found in Lauderdale, a jury could find that the murder was committed there. He also argues that the trial court erred in denying his imperfect self defense instruction. The COA affirms.

Willie Soloman Robinson v State of  Mississippi –  arson – Robinson was convicted of first degree murder.  He had been renting a bedroom in bedroom in Alice Crandle’s house in Gulfport. He and Alice got into an argument Alice ordered him to move whereupon he threatened to burn her house down. That night she awoke to flames on the front porch and at the back of her house. On appeal Robinson argues that at most this was only attempted arson and that the verdict was against the weight of the evidence.

In the Matter of the Last Will and Testament of E. Milton Burris Sr., Deceased: E. Milton Burris Jr. v. The Estate of E. Milton Burris Sr., Deceased, By and Through the Executrix Renee Sims Burris, and Renee Sims Burris, Individuallywill contest –  Eddie Burris died in 2015.  His will left everything to his wife except for one dollar to his only child Milt.  Milt challenged the will claiming Eddie lacked testamentary capacity and/or that Renee exerted undue influence.  The chancellor granted summary judgment to the wife Renee.  Milt appealed and the COA affirms.


Roberts Contracting Inc. and Fidelity & Deposit Company of Maryland v. Mersino Dewatering Inc. – breach of contract/prejudgment interest –  DeSoto County Regional Utility Authority required the Walls-Lagoon Project for improvement and expansion of a portion of DeSoto County’s regional sewer system.  RCI was the  Authority’s general contractor on the project and installed the subsurface-mainline-sewer pipe on the project.  RCI hired MDI to do the dewatering. At the conclusion of the project, RCI refused to abide by certain aspects of the contract and MDI sued.   The circuit court found for  MDI and awarded $67,579. On appeal, the COA affirms except for the prejudgment interest.  It modifies the order so that the prejudgment interest applicable to the judgment shall be computed as simple interest at the interest rate of 1.5% per annum from the date of the breach, that is, March 18, 2010.

Rob Harris v. Stone County Board of Supervisors and Mississippi Public Entity WC Trustworkers comp –  Harris was working for Stone County when in May  2012, he injured his left knee.  He  underwent multiple surgeries to his left leg and reached maximum medical improvement  in August 2016. A functional capacity exam  showed he was “able to work full time and perform [duties while] sitting frequently and standing occasionally throughout the workday.” The FCE recommended that Harris receive a thirty-one percent impairment rating to the left lower extremity.   Harris tried to find a job with his limitations but was unable to find one.  The only issue before the AJ was “the existence and extent of permanent disability attributable to Harris’[s] work-related injury.” The AJ determined that Harris was permanently and totally disabled and entitled to
permanent total disability benefits  of $312.82 beginning May 30, 2012, and continuing for a period of 450 weeks.  The County appealed the decision to the Commission and it reversed. The Commission  found that Harris was entitled to permanent partial disability benefits of $312.82 beginning August 18, 2016, and continuing for a period of 175 weeks. Harris appealed and the COA reverses finding that the Commission’s ruling was not supported by substantial evidence.

Pro se PCR appeal affirmed:

Clayton Paul Bateman  v. State of Mississippi

Nathaniel Walden  v. State of Mississippi